Atrovent is the brand name used for Ipratropium which is used in preventing the symptoms that occur due to ongoing lung diseases or ‘Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases’ (COPD). The symptoms might include shortness of breath and wheezing.
How it works
When ipratropium works in your body, it relaxes the muscles around you airways, opening them up so that the air flow to the lungs is increased. This will enable you to breathe more easily. When used with the aid of an inhaler on a regular basis, you will be able to find relief from the disturbances that you face with wheezing and sudden shortness of breath.
Asthma symptoms and bronchospasms caused by bronchitis and emphysema can also be treated with the help of Atrovent. This will allow you to minimize the precious time lost from your daily work, because of breathing problems.
Before using ipratropium, clear any doubts that you might have regarding the usage of the inhaler, from your physician. It will have to be primed if you are using it for the first time or after more than 3 days.
However, this should be done away from the face to avoid the medicine getting inside your eyes. If it does get into your eyes, temporary blurred vision, eye pain/irritation and other vision changes may occur. So it is best to cover the mouthpiece tightly around using your lips and to close your eyes, even when using the inhaler. It should be inhaled by mouth, usually for 4 times a day or as directed by your doctor/pharmacist. You should wait at least one minute between puffs if you have been prescribed 2 puffs per dose. Wait at least 1 after using Atrovent, to use any other inhaler that you might need to use.
To avoid any throat irritations or dry mouth, rinse your mouth after use and the mouthpiece will need cleaning once a week with water too. Tell your doctor if the condition remains the same or if it gets worse.
Even though serious side effects are not common when using this drug, get immediate medical attention right away if the following occur.
Sudden worsening of breathing problems
Redness/pain/swelling in eye
Severe allergic reactions (like itching/rash)
These less serious effects may also occur.
Upsets in stomach
Note that this list does not include all the possible side effects. In case these or any other effects occur, persist or worsen inform your healthcare provider promptly.
If your medical history includes conditions such as a family history of glaucoma or urinating difficulties, disclose these details to your pharmacist/doctor. The allergies you might have for ipratropium or any other substance should be duly notified as well. As this drug might cause vision changes/ blurred vision, avoid tasks like the use of machinery, driving, etc.
Alcoholic beverages need to be limited while on medication too. Your doctor/dentist should know of any prescription/non-prescription drugs or herbal products that you might be using if you plan to have surgery.
Discuss the benefits/risks that might be involved with using Atrovent, if you are pregnant. This should be done if you are breast-feeding too as it has not been tested if the medication passes into an infant through breast milk.