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Monday, June 15, 2009 lrp, Community Member, asks

Q: A nurse practitioner prescribed spiriva for my asthma

I thought spiriva was for COPD not asthma. Is it safe for me to use spiriva or is it the incorrect medication?
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Answers (1)
John Bottrell, Health Pro
6/15/09 10:31pm

Great question.


Spiriva is a safe medicine for both asthma and COPD patients.  It is an anticholinergic medicine like Atrovent that acts as a bronchodilator, only it's taken once daily and works for up to 24 hours.  There have been studies that showing Spiriva actually improved lung function and decreased exacerbations in COPD patients.  While Atrovent used to be used as a controller medicine for asthma, Anticholinergics are no longer recommended as a top line medicine for asthma as there are other bronchodilators that work better, such as Albuterol and Serevent and Formeterol. 


Usually Spiriva is not the first medicine prescribed to control asthma.  However, without knowing the rest of your medical history, and what other medicines you are on or have tried, it's tough for me to form an opinion on your NP (nurse practitioner) ordering Spiriva for your asthma. 


As is noted in this post, finding what medicine(s) works best to control your asthma can often be a game of trial and error.  Likewise, if you want to find out what your NPs plan of action is for you, ideally you should ask your NP.


If you have further questions please feel free to ask. 

lrp, Community Member
6/15/09 11:47pm

Thank You very much for your help i do appreciate it.I have been using spiriva for 3 days now and its not really helping me very much at all.Actually towards the middle of the day i have some trouble breathing. At first i was put on albuterol and QVAR it seemed to me the albuterol works better for me especially in a nebulizer machine as the inhalers are little help.I will be going back to the doctor friday so maybe i can try a different medicine that will work for me. I`m 52 years old and the nurse practitioner said i have severe asthma. So hopefully she will find one that works well for me...


Thanks again

John Bottrell, Health Pro
6/17/09 11:30am

I'm just curious, are you on any other medicines besides Spiriva and Albuterol?  It would seem if your NP has diagnosed you with severe asthma you should at least be on an inhaled corticosteroid, or maybe even a combination inhaler like Advair and Symbicort.  However, again, I say this not knowing the full scope of your illness the way your NP does.

suzie, Community Member
7/20/09 1:42pm

Hi, I have just been reading your question and response. Im on sprivia and symbicourt and have been on them for 3 years now ( having asthma all my life) I was on Qvar, but I saw an improvment with the sprivia- the capsule one anyway. Recently my doctors changed me on to the pump action one- like an aeresol inhaler and I found it far less effective, even though it was the same dose, just different way of taking it. 3 days really isnt that long, so if you bear with it hopefully your recieve some benfits. Hope this helps, take care

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By lrp, Community Member— Last Modified: 12/24/10, First Published: 06/15/09