The ability to breathe well effortlessly on a day to day basis and even in sleep are certainly things that humans always take for granted. You can ask a person with lung diseases, especially diseases that affected them from when they were a child and still affecting them or potentially affecting them now, suffer from respiratory diseases that often exhibit breathlessness as its symptom. Such symptoms can be very annoying and at times may even tamper with their daily life activities. There are a number of drugs used to treat breathlessness such as SPIRIVA RESPIMAT 2.5 mg. Since there are many kinds of drugs in many forms in the market, you probably have heard about bronchodilators that are commonly used in patients with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The question now is, is bronchodilator such as Spiriva a steroid inhaler?

To better understand Spiriva, it is best to know a bit more on bronchodilators in general first. Bronchodilator is used to help patients breathe better by relaxing the muscles in the lungs and widening the airways. It also helps to remove mucus from blocking the airways and leads to breathlessness. Bronchodilators is divided into two types:

  1. The first type is the short-acting bronchodilators that is used as short-term relief from the sudden attack or unexpected breathlessness. It is also known as the rescue medication due to the fast-acting effect. Common ingredients in short-acting bronchodilators are albuterol, levalbuterol and metaproterenol. This type of bronchodilator can also be used before anticipated events that could trigger breathlessness such as exercise.
  2. The second type is long-acting bronchodilators that is used to help control breathlessness and is often used long-term before a person can achieve an efficient breathing system. Common ingredients in long-acting bronchodilators are salmeterol and formoterol. It is often used in combination with inhaled steroids since it could enhance the effect.

You may be confused with bronchodilator as a steroid since in many occasions it is used hands in hands to help improve breathing symptoms. In truth, bronchodilator and inhaled steroids are used together in patients with asthma or COPD to help improve their symptoms. Both of the diseases cause a patient to have breathing difficulties that are treated by many different regimes involving different doses and type of bronchodilator or inhaled steroids. These breathing difficulties are often as a result of inflammation and constricting muscles in the lungs. Hence, bronchodilator or inhaler such as Spiriva is used to help patients manage their breathlessness symptoms.

Spiriva Respimat contains tiotropium bromide as its active ingredient. It belongs to a class of medication known as bronchodilators. A bronchodilator works by relaxing the muscles in the lungs and expanding the airways. This is due to the effect of its anticholinergic properties. This medication is known as a long-acting bronchodilator as the effect lasts for at least 12 hours. This is in contrast with short-acting bronchodilators as it only lasts around only 4 hours. Long-acting bronchodilators such as this SPIRIVA RESPIMAT is used to help control breathlessness in asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It is prescribed for those aged 6 and above as maintenance treatment for asthma and not as a rescue medicine.

This medicine must be used regularly in order for the drug to work effectively and for the body to reap the benefits. The recommended dose is 5 mcg which consists of 2 puffs, taken once daily and at the same time of the day. Do not inhale more than 2 sprays in 24 hours. If you use this inhaler for the first time or have not used it for more than 3 days, you need to prime it before using it. Priming an inhaler helps to make sure the medicine content is mixed with the propellant to ensure you are receiving the full dose of the medicine. To prime, simply spray the medicine 3 times into the air and away from the face. A slow-moving mist is a sign that the inhaler is ready to be used. Full benefit of the medicine will be obvious after several doses. Hence, it is important to take in on a regular basis and with its recommended dosage or as instructed by your healthcare provider.

Just as with any other medicine, SPIRIVA RESPIMAT does have potential side effects. Common side effects include dry mouth, sore throat, headache, dizziness and sinus infection. If a patient feels dizzy or blurred vision when using this medicine, you should be careful when working with machines or driving vehicles alone. When patients experience such side effects or worsening of symptoms, they should tell their healthcare provider. If a patient has other medical conditions such as kidney problems, glaucoma, enlarged prostate, blockage in bladder or difficulty passing urines, patients need to inform their doctor about the condition. This is due to the possibility that the drug used to treat these medical conditions may contain anticholinergic medicine which may increase side effects or worsen symptoms of the condition. Side effects can be signs of patients using the medicine in excess or the dose is not suitable for them. Do discuss with a healthcare professional if there are any side effects.

In essence, bronchodilators such as SPIRIVA RESPIMAT are not steroids. In fact, bronchodilators may be used combined with steroids in forms of inhalation to provide better effect towards breathlessness symptoms. It is necessary to take bronchodilator as prescribed by doctors and follow all doctor’s advice

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