Spiriva makes breathing easier for people with COPD. Comes in capsule form, to be inhaled using a special device. Do not swallow capsule.

Spiriva Overview

Reviewed: May 5, 2014

Spiriva is a prescription medication used to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Spiriva is in a class of medications called bronchodilators. It works by relaxing and opening the air passages to the lungs. It makes it easier to breathe.

This medication comes in capsule form to use with a specially designed inhaler. Spiriva capsules are not to be swallowed. Instead, using the Spiriva HandiHaler, the capsule is punctured, and the powder inside the capsule is inhaled into the lungs. Spiriva is taken once a day.

Common side effects include upper respiratory tract infection, dry mouth, and sinus infection.

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Spiriva Cautionary Labels


Uses of Spiriva

Spiriva is a prescription medication used each day to control symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.


Spiriva Drug Class

Spiriva is part of the drug class:

Side Effects of Spiriva

Spiriva can cause serious side effects. See "Drug Precautions". 

Other side effects with Spiriva include:

  • upper respiratory tract infection
  • dry mouth
  • sinus infection
  • sore throat
  • non-specific chest pain
  • urinary tract infection
  • indigestion
  • runny nose
  • constipation
  • increased heart rate
  • blurred vision

These are not all the possible side effects with Spiriva. Tell your doctor if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.

Spiriva Interactions

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines and eye drops, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Some of your other medicines or supplements may affect the way Spiriva works. Spiriva is an anticholinergic medicine. You should not take other anticholinergic medicines while using Spiriva, including ipratropium. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure if one of your medicines is an anticholinergic.

Know the medicines you take. Keep a list of your medicines with you to show your doctor and pharmacist when you get a new medicine.

Spiriva Precautions

Do not use Spiriva if you are allergic to tiotropium, ipratropium (Atrovent), or any of the ingredients in Spiriva.

Spiriva can cause serious side effects, including: 

Allergic reaction. Symptoms may include:

  • raised red patches on your skin (hives)
  • itching
  • rash
  • swelling of the lips, tongue, or throat that may cause difficulty in breathing or swallowing

If you have these symptoms of an allergic reaction, stop taking Spiriva and call your doctor right away or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.

Sudden narrowing and blockage of the airways into the lungs (bronchospasm). If your breathing suddenly gets worse, stop taking Spiriva and call your doctor right away or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.

New or worsened increased pressure in the eyes (acute narrow-angle glaucoma). Symptoms of acute narrow-angle glaucoma may include:

  • eye pain
  • blurred vision
  • seeing halos (visual halos) or colored images along with red eyes

Using only eye drops to treat these symptoms may not work. If you have these symptoms, stop taking Spiriva and call your doctor right away.

New or worsened urinary retention. Symptoms of blockage in your bladder and/or enlarged prostate may include: 

  • difficulty passing urine
  • painful urination.

If you have these symptoms of urinary retention, stop taking Spiriva and call your doctor right away.

Do not let the powder from the Spiriva capsule get into your eyes. Your vision may get blurry and the pupil in your eye may get larger (dilate). If this happens, call your doctor.

Spiriva can cause dizziness and blurred vision. Should you experience these symptoms you should use caution when engaging in activities such as driving a car or operating appliances or other machines.

Spiriva Food Interactions

Medicines can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods. In the case of Spiriva there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when receiving Spiriva.

Inform MD

Before taking Spiriva, tell your doctor about all your medical conditions, including if you:

  • have kidney problems.
  • have glaucoma. Spiriva may make your glaucoma worse.
  • have an enlarged prostate, problems passing urine, or a blockage in your bladder. Spiriva may make these problems worse.
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
  • are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. 
  • have a severe allergy to milk proteins. Ask your doctor if you are not sure.

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Spiriva and Pregnancy

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

The FDA categorizes medications based on safety for use during pregnancy. Five categories - A, B, C, D, and X, are used to classify the possible risks to an unborn baby when a medication is taken during pregnancy.

This medication falls into category C. In animal studies, pregnant animals were given this medication and had some babies born with problems. No well-controlled studies have been done in humans. Therefore, this medication may be used if the potential benefits to the mother outweigh the potential risks to the unborn child.

Spiriva and Lactation

Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if Spiriva passes into breast milk. You and your doctor will decide if Spiriva is right for you while you breastfeed.

Spiriva Usage

Use Spiriva exactly as prescribed. Use Spiriva one time every day.

  • Read the "Instructions for Use" contained in the leaflet that comes with Spiriva. Talk with your doctor if you do not understand the instructions.
  • Do not swallow Spiriva capsules.
  • Only use Spiriva capsules with the HandiHaler device.
  • Do not use the HandiHaler device to take any other medicine.
  • Spiriva comes as a powder in a Spiriva capsule that fits the HandiHaler device. Each Spiriva capsule, containing only a small amount of Spiriva powder, is one full dose of medicine.
  • Separate one blister from the blister card. Then take out one of the Spiriva capsules from the blister package right before you use it.
  • After the capsule is pierced, take a complete dose of Spiriva by breathing in the powder by mouth two times, using the HandiHaler device (take 2 inhalations from one Spiriva capsule). 
  • Throw away any Spiriva capsule that is not used right away after it is taken out of the blister package. Do not leave the Spiriva capsules open to air; they may not work as well.
  • If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. Do not use Spiriva more than one time every 24 hours.
  • If you use more than your prescribed dose of Spiriva, call your doctor or a poison control center.

Spiriva Dosage

Take Spiriva exactly as prescribed. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully. 

The recommended dose of Spiriva is two inhalations of the powder contents of one Spiriva capsule, once-daily, with the HandiHaler device.

Spiriva Overdose

If you take too much Spiriva, call your healthcare provider or local Poison Control Center, or seek emergency medical attention right away.

If Spiriva is administered by a healthcare provider in a medical setting, it is unlikely that an overdose will occur. However, if overdose is suspected, seek emergency medical attention.

Other Requirements

  • Do not store Spiriva capsules in the HandiHaler device.
  • Store Spiriva capsules in the sealed blister package at room temperature between 68°F to 77°F (20° to 25°C).
  • Keep Spiriva capsules away from heat and cold (do not freeze).
  • Store Spiriva capsules in a dry place. Throw away any unused Spiriva capsules that have been open to air.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions about storing your Spiriva capsules.

Keep the HandiHaler, Spiriva capsules, and all medicines out of the reach of children.