Ipratropium is used to control and prevent symptoms (wheezing and shortness of breath) caused by ongoing lung disease (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease-COPD which includes bronchitis and emphysema). It works by relaxing the muscles around the airways so that they open up and you can breathe more easily. Controlling symptoms of breathing problems can decrease time lost from work or school.
For preventing symptoms of lung disease, this medication must be used regularly to be effective. Use your quick-relief inhaler or nebulized solution (such as albuterol, also called salbutamol in some countries) for wheezing or sudden shortness of breath unless otherwise directed by your doctor. Ipratropium does not work as fast as your quick-relief medication, but may sometimes be used together with your quick-relief medication to relieve symptoms of wheezing or sudden shortness of breath if so prescribed by your doctor.
How To Use
Read the Patient Information Leaflet if available from your pharmacist before you start using ipratropium and each time you get a refill. This medication is used with a special machine called a nebulizer that changes the solution to a fine mist that you inhale. Learn how to prepare the solution and use the nebulizer properly. If a child is using this medication, a parent or other responsible adult should supervise the child. If you have any questions, ask your doctor, pharmacist, or respiratory therapist.
This product should be clear and colorless. Before using, check this product visually for particles or discoloration. If either is present, do not use the liquid.
Inhale this medication into your lungs using the nebulizer as directed by your doctor, usually 3 to 4 times a day (6 to 8 hours apart). Avoid getting this medication into your eyes. It may cause eye pain/irritation, temporary blurred vision, and other vision changes. Therefore, it is recommended that you use a mouthpiece rather than a face mask with the nebulizer or that you close your eyes during use. Each treatment usually takes about 5 to 15 minutes. Use this medication only through a nebulizer. Do not swallow or inject the solution. To prevent infections, clean the nebulizer and mouthpiece/face mask according to the manufacturer's directions.
Rinse your mouth after treatment to prevent dry mouth and throat irritation.
Ipratropium may be mixed with other medications (such as albuterol) or saline if directed by your doctor. Follow your doctor's instructions carefully. Once a vial is opened, throw away any unused solution.
Dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment.
If you are directed to use this medication regularly, it works best if used at evenly spaced intervals. To help you remember, use it at the same times each day. Do not increase your dose, use this medication more often, or stop using it without first consulting your doctor.
Tell your doctor if your symptoms do not improve or if they worsen.
Learn which of your inhalers you should use every day and which you should use if your breathing suddenly worsens. Ask your doctor what to do if you have worsening cough or shortness of breath, wheezing, increased sputum, worsening peak flow meter readings, increased use of your quick-relief inhaler, or if your quick-relief inhaler does not seem to be working well. Learn when you can self-medicate and when you should get medical help right away.