Proper Use

Drug information provided by: Micromedex

This medicine usually comes with patient instructions. Read them carefully before using the medicine. If you do not understand the directions or you are not sure how to use the inhaler, ask your doctor to show you how to use it.

Use this medicine only as directed by your doctor. Do not use more of it and do not use it more often than your doctor ordered. Also, do not stop using this medicine without telling your doctor. To do so may cause your lung condition to become worse.

Keep the spray or solution away from the eyes. This medicine may cause eye pain or discomfort, irritation, blurred vision, or start seeing halos or odd colors when you look at things. Closing your eyes while you are inhaling ipratropium may keep the medicine from getting into your eyes. If it does come into contact with your eyes, check with your doctor right away.

If you are taking this medicine every day to help control your symptoms, it must be taken at regularly spaced times as ordered by your doctor.

For patients using ipratropium inhalation aerosol:

  • If you do not understand the directions or you are not sure how to use the inhaler, ask your doctor to show you how to use it. Also, ask your doctor to check regularly how you use the inhaler to make sure you are using it properly.
  • There are two formulas of the inhaled aerosol. One contains chlorofluorocarbons and the other contains HFA as the propellant. The taste and inhalation of these may seem different, but the safety and effectiveness of both formulas are similar.
  • The ipratropium aerosol canister provides about 200 inhalations, depending on the size of the canister your doctor ordered. You should try to keep a record of the number of inhalations you use so you will know when the canister is almost empty. This canister, unlike some other aerosol canisters, cannot be floated in water to test its fullness.
  • When you use the inhaler for the first time, or if you have not used it for a while, the inhaler may not give the right amount of medicine with the first puff. Therefore, before using the inhaler, test or prime it.
  • To test or prime the inhaler:
    • Insert the canister firmly into the clean mouthpiece according to the manufacturer's instructions. Check to make sure it is placed properly into the mouthpiece.
    • Take the cap off the mouthpiece and shake the inhaler three or four times.
    • Hold the inhaler away from you at arm's length and press the top of the canister, spraying the medicine two times into the air. The inhaler will now be ready to give the right amount of medicine when you use it.
    • If the inhaler is not used for more than 3 days, prime the inhaler two times to prepare it for use.
  • To use the inhaler:
    • Using your thumb and one or two fingers, hold the inhaler upright, with the mouthpiece end down and pointing toward you.
    • Take the cap off the mouthpiece. Check the mouthpiece to make sure it is clear. Then, gently shake the inhaler three or four times.
    • Breathe out slowly to the end of a normal breath.
    • Use the inhalation method recommended by your doctor:
      • Open-mouth method—Place the mouthpiece about 1 or 2 inches (2 finger-widths) in front of your widely opened mouth. Make sure the inhaler is aimed into your mouth so the spray does not hit the roof of your mouth or your tongue.
      • Closed-mouth method—Place the mouthpiece in your mouth between your teeth and over your tongue with your lips closed tightly around it. Make sure your tongue or teeth are not blocking the opening.
    • Start to breathe in slowly and deeply through your mouth. At the same time, press the top of the canister once to get one puff of medicine. Continue to breathe in slowly for 5 to 10 seconds. Count the seconds while breathing in. It is important to press the canister and breathe in slowly at the same time so the medicine gets into your lungs. This step may be difficult at first. If you are using the closed-mouth method and you see a fine mist coming from your mouth or nose, the inhaler is not being used correctly.
    • Hold your breath as long as you can up to 10 seconds. This gives the medicine time to settle into your airways and lungs.
    • Take the mouthpiece away from your mouth and breathe out slowly.
    • If your doctor has told you to inhale more than one puff of medicine at each dose, gently shake the inhaler again, and take the second puff following exactly the same steps you used for the first puff. Press the canister one time for each puff of medicine.
    • When you are finished, wipe off the mouthpiece and replace the cap.
  • Your doctor may want you to use a spacer device or holding chamber with the inhaler. A spacer helps get the medicine into the lungs and reduces the amount of medicine that stays in your mouth and throat.
    • To use a spacer device with the inhaler:
      • Attach the spacer to the inhaler according to the manufacturer's directions. There are different types of spacers available, but the method of breathing remains the same with most spacers.
      • Gently shake the inhaler and spacer three or four times.
      • Hold the mouthpiece of the spacer away from your mouth and breathe out slowly to the end of a normal breath.
      • Place the mouthpiece into your mouth between your teeth and over your tongue with your lips closed around it.
      • Press the top of the canister once to release one puff of medicine into the spacer. Within 1 or 2 seconds, start to breathe in slowly and deeply through your mouth for 5 to 10 seconds. Count the seconds while inhaling. Do not breathe in through your nose.
      • Hold your breath as long as you can up to 10 seconds.
      • Take the mouthpiece away from your mouth and breathe out slowly.
      • If your doctor has told you to take more than one puff of medicine at each dose, gently shake the inhaler and spacer again and take the next puff, following exactly the same steps you used for the first puff. Do not put more than one puff of medicine into the spacer at a time.
      • When you are finished, remove the spacer device from the inhaler and replace the cap.
  • The mouthpiece has a dose indicator window that shows how much medicine is left. When the dose indicator window displays "40" or changes from green to red color background, this means that you need to refill your prescription or ask your doctor if you need another prescription of this medicine.
  • Clean the inhaler, mouthpiece, and spacer at least once a week.
    • To clean the inhaler:
      • Remove the canister from the inhaler and set aside.
      • Wash the mouthpiece, cap, and the spacer with warm, soapy water. Then, rinse well with warm, running water.
      • Shake off the excess water and let the inhaler parts air dry completely before putting the inhaler back together.

For patients using the inhalation solution:

  • Use this medicine only in a power-operated nebulizer with an adequate flow rate and equipped with a face mask or mouthpiece. Your doctor will tell you which nebulizer to use. Make sure you understand exactly how to use it. If you have any questions about this, check with your doctor.
  • To prepare the medicine for use in the nebulizer:
    • If you are using the single-dose vial of ipratropium:
      • Break away one vial by pulling it firmly from the strip.
      • Twist off the top to open the vial. Use the contents of the vial as soon as possible after opening it.
      • Squeeze the contents of the vial into the cup of the nebulizer. If your doctor has told you to use less than a full vial of solution, use a syringe to withdraw the correct amount of solution from the vial and add it to the nebulizer cup. Be sure to throw away the syringe after one use.
    • If you are using the multiple-dose bottle of ipratropium:
      • Use a syringe to withdraw the correct amount of solution from the bottle and add it to the nebulizer cup. Do not use the same syringe more than once.
  • If you have been told to dilute the ipratropium inhalation solution in the nebulizer cup with the sodium chloride solution provided, use a new syringe to add the sodium chloride solution to the cup as directed by your doctor.
  • If your doctor told you to use another inhalation solution with the ipratropium inhalation solution, add that solution also to the nebulizer cup.
  • To use the nebulizer:
    • Gently shake the nebulizer cup to mix the solutions well.
    • Connect the nebulizer tube to the air or oxygen pump and begin the treatment. Adjust the mask, if you are using one, to prevent mist from getting into your eyes.
    • Use the method of breathing your doctor told you to use to take the treatment. One way is to breathe slowly and deeply through the mask or mouthpiece. Another way is to breathe in and out normally with the mouthpiece in your mouth, taking a deep breath every 1 or 2 minutes. Continue to breathe in the medicine as instructed until no more mist is formed in the nebulizer cup or until you hear a sputtering (spitting or popping) sound.
    • When you have finished, replace the caps on the solutions. Store the bottles of solution in the refrigerator until the next treatment.
    • Clean the nebulizer according to the manufacturer's directions.

Use only the brand of this medicine that your doctor prescribed. Different brands may not work the same way.

Dosing

The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For asthma:
    • For inhalation aerosol dosage form (used with an inhaler):
      • Adults and children 12 years of age and older—1 to 4 puffs four times a day, at regularly spaced times, as needed.
      • Children up to 12 years of age—1 or 2 puffs three or four times a day, at regularly spaced times, as needed.
    • For inhalation solution dosage form (used with a nebulizer):
      • Adults and children 12 years of age and older—500 mcg used in a nebulizer three or four times a day, every 6 to 8 hours, as needed.
      • Children 5 to 12 years of age—125 to 250 mcg used in a nebulizer three or four times a day, every 4 to 6 hours as needed.
      • Children up to 5 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
  • For symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD):
    • For inhalation aerosol dosage form (used with an inhaler):
      • Adult—At first, 2 puffs four times a day and as needed. Do not use more than 12 puffs in any 24-hour period.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
    • For inhalation solution dosage form (used with a nebulizer):
      • Adults and children 12 years of age and older—250 to 500 mcg used in a nebulizer three or four times a day, every 6 to 8 hours.
      • Children up to 12 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.

Storage

Store the canister at room temperature, away from heat and direct light. Do not freeze. Do not keep this medicine inside a car where it could be exposed to extreme heat or cold. Do not poke holes in the canister or throw it into a fire, even if the canister is empty.

Keep out of the reach of children.

Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.

Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.