Table of Contents
III. Spiriva's Effect on the Body
IV. Tips on Using Spiriva Respimat
V. Tips on Using the Spiriva Handihaler
The Function of the Lungs
Hundreds of millions of people across the world suffer from chronic lung diseases. Most commonly, people suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma. When you are diagnosed with these conditions, doctors may prescribe you Spiriva Handihaler or Spiriva Respimat to help ease unpleasant symptoms. Common symptoms can include:
- Unintended weight loss (in later stages)
- Frequent respiratory infections
- Lack of energy
- Chronic cough
- Producing mucus that may be white, yellow, or green
- Shortness of breath 
When we breathe in, oxygen passes through the windpipe into the lungs and fills the lung’s air sacs with oxygen. These air sacs are full of many little blood vessels and help filter carbon dioxide. If these air sacs lose their elasticity, air can become trapped in the lungs, affecting your breathing.
COPD & Asthma
Because chronic lung diseases are so common, there are several reasons why they may occur. Smoking, exposure to irritating gases and chemicals, and genetic factors are the most common reasons behind these diseases. COPD involves several diseases, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis. In the case of emphysema, lung disease destroys the elastic fiber of the alveoli (tiny air sacs), leading to insufficient airflow out of the lungs.  Chronic bronchitis involves inflammation of the bronchial tubes, causing the lungs to produce more mucus and block the airways.
Asthma is a similar airway disease that affects how oxygen goes in and out of the lungs. Asthma symptoms occur when a triggering allergen or event causes the airways to become irritated or swollen. This can make breathing difficult and cause coughing and tightness in the chest. This lung disorder often starts in childhood and may continue into adulthood.
To improve the symptoms of these conditions, inhaled medications like Spiriva Handihaler and Spiriva Respimat can provide long-term relief. Learn more about the effect of this medication on the body and how to use it effectively.
Spiriva's Effect on the Body
Both forms of Spiriva offered by My Drug Center contain tiotropium bromide. This substance acts as a bronchodilator, which relaxes muscles in the airways and increases airflow to the lungs. Tiotropium is an anticholinergic drug. These drugs work by blocking a particular neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. Acetylcholine blocks involuntary nerve impulses, which reduces swelling and inflammation in the airways.
Patients must use Spiriva regularly to be effective. Because it is a maintenance inhaler, these medications do not work right away. These inhalers keep your airways open and healthy, which reduces the rate of sudden breathing problems or asthma attacks.
Tips on Using Spiriva Respimat
When starting a new medication, it is essential that you follow the instructions given to you by your doctor. The following passages give basic guidelines on how to use Spiriva Respimat, but your doctor’s instruction is the most important and should be followed exactly.
Spiriva Respimat is one version of this tiotropium bromide medication. It comes with a cartridge and an inhaler that need to be put together before the drug can be used. To insert the cartridge into the inhaler, press the gray safety catch and pull off the clear base. You then push the narrow end of the cartridge into the inhaler. Please do not remove this cartridge once it is inserted. Once the clear base is back into place, the inhaler is ready to go.
If you haven’t used the inhaler in over three days, you need to prime the inhaler. This involves flipping the orange cap open, pointing the inhaler at the ground, and pressing the dark gray button until a spray is visible. Once a visible vapor cloud is present, the inhaler is primed and ready for use.
Your doctor may recommend the following steps when using Spiriva Respimat:
- Hold the inhaler upright with the cap closed
- Turn the clear base towards the white arrows on the lable until you hear a click
- Open the orange cap
- Exhale deeply to clear your lungs
- Place your lips on the mouthpiece without covering the holes on the side
- Press the dark gray button while taking a slow, deep breath at the same time
- Continue to breathe in slowly until the lungs are full
- Hold your breath for up to 10 seconds, then breathe out
- Repeat these steps if your doctor recommends more than one dose daily
- Wait at least 30 seconds between doses
- Put the cap back on and store in a safe place
Tips on Using the Spiriva Handihaler
Spiriva Handihaler is slightly different from Spiriva Respimat. The Handihaler does not come with a cartridge but several capsules in a blister card. This type of drug contains the same medication but delivers a slow-moving mist into the lungs instead of vapor, like Respimat. Along with the advice of your doctor, you may want to follow these steps to use the Handihaler effectively:
- Open the Handihaler and separate one capsule from the blister card. If you mistakenly open another blister and reveal the capsule, dispose of this compromised capsule
- Insert the capsule into the Handihaler and close the mouthpiece against the gray base until a click is heard
- Push the green piercing button until it is flush against the base. Release your hold from the button
- Take a deep breath out, and then put your lips around the mouthpiece
- Take a deep breath in until your lungs feel full
- When breathing, you should feel the capsule vibrate, signifying proper use
If you have more questions about the use of these medications, consult your doctor. It is essential not to swallow the Handihaler capsules. Patients should only use these capsules with the prescribed Handihaler device. For more information on these Spiriva products, read our blog today.
DISCLAIMER: The information in the article is not meant to be used for treatment or diagnosis. It is designed for general awareness and for information purposes only. Always consult a medical professional for your specific healthcare needs.