ALBUTEROL/IPRATROPIUM ORAL INHALER
In this session, we will be discussing the consumer medication information for albuterol/ipratropium oral inhaler, trade name Combivent RespimatTM.
What it’s for & How to take
Albuterol/Ipratropium oral inhaler is a combination of 2 separate medications. Both medications work by relaxing the muscles that support your airway. This medication helps relax coughing and wheezing and allows you to breathe easier.
Albuterol/Ipratropium oral inhaler is used to treat and prevent breathing symptoms like wheezing and shortness of breath that may by caused by Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. This disease is usually caused by excessive lung irritation from smoking or other irritants.
In this disease, your airways may become swollen which may result in narrowed airways and difficult breathing. It is also possible that the lung muscle becomes stretched out and unable to do its job of moving air.
This medication is also prescribed sometimes to help with uncontrolled asthma symptoms.
Albuterol/ipratropium oral inhaler is to be used on a regular basis to be effective in preventing breathing symptoms. This medication does not work to treat a sudden asthma attack. If you have a sudden attack of asthma, use your fast acting rescue inhaler to relieve your immediate symptoms.
When you pick up your inhaler for the first time, make sure the pharmacist shows you exactly how to use it. If you have any questions on how to use your inhaler, call your pharmacist or doctor and ask for instruction. The cartridge needs to be loaded and the inhaler primed before first use.
To prime the inhaler, activate the inhaler away from your face until the fine mist is visible, then repeat 3 more times. If the inhaler has not been used for 3 days, prime the inhaler with 1 activation. If the inhaler has not been used for 21 or more days, prime the same way you would for a new inhaler.
Albuterol/ipratropium is usually prescribed to be used 1 inhalation 4 times daily, or as needed for coughing and wheezing. Never use more than 6 inhalations in a 24 hour period because of the risk of side effects.
If you are using this medication on a regular schedule and forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of your next dose, just skip it and continue with your normal dose time. Do not take a double dose to make up the missed dose.
Keep your inhaler clean and keep count of the number of inhalations left in the container. If you have any questions about how to clean your inhaler or keep track of the number of doses, ask your pharmacist or doctor to explain it to you.
If your doctor has you using another inhaler, such as a steroid, at the same time as your albuterol, use the albuterol inhaler first. The albuterol will open your lungs so the next medication can get into your lungs easier.
Take time to understand which inhalers are for urgent breathing episodes and which are to be used on a regular basis to prevent breathing problems. If you have used your inhaler and are not seeing any improvement or your symptoms are worsening, call your doctor.
Self-monitoring also includes the use of a Peak Flow Meter. This is a simple device which helps you measure, on your own, how well your lungs are working. If you don’t already use one, discuss this with your doctor or pharmacist.
Warnings & Cautions
- This medication may make you dizzy, drowsy, or blur your vision. Do not drive or do any activity that requires focus and attention until you are sure you can do them safely. Limit alcoholic beverages while using albuterol/ipratropium oral inhaler.
- Rarely, albuterol/ipratropium may cause your heart to beat fast and unsteady. If you feel any severe dizziness or feel like your heart is racing or beating too fast, get medical help right away.
- Uncommonly, after a single dose of this inhaler, you may experience a sudden episode of wheezing. If this happens, seek immediate medical attention.
- If this medication is accidently sprayed into your eyes, it may cause eye pain and temporary blurred vision or vision changes. Rinse your mouth out with water after using your inhaler to prevent any throat irritation or dry mouth.
- Let your pharmacist or doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding before taking this medication.
Interactions & Side Effects
- Tell your pharmacist or doctor all your medication allergies so they may determine if albuterol/ipratropium oral inhaler is safe for you to use.
- Avoid dangerous drug interactions. Tell your pharmacist or doctor all the other medication you are taking, including over the counter supplements, even if you don’t take them very often.
- Ask your doctor if this medication is safe to take with your current health conditions. Tell your doctor if you have chest pain or irregular heartbeats, an eye condition known as narrow angle glaucoma, difficulty urinating, thyroid disorder, seizure disorder, or any other current medical condition.
- While using albuterol/ipratropium oral inhaler, you may feel some nausea, dizziness, shakiness, nervousness or dry mouth. If these or any other unwanted side effects persist, contact your doctor or pharmacist to talk about it with them.
- Call your doctor right away if you feel any chest pain or pounding heartbeat, difficulty urinating, or significant vision changes.
If you have any questions about what you have heard, contact your pharmacist or doctor. This session does not include all the potential interactions or side effects that this medication may cause. Ask your pharmacist how your medication should be stored and how you should dispose of it when you are done taking it. Do not share your medication with anyone, ever. Remember, this is not meant to replace your counseling session with your pharmacist. In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.