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What is an Atrovent inhaler?

Atrovent is an effective asthma inhaler.

You use it daily to reduce inflammation and relax the muscles in the airways to prevent asthma attacks. It can also be used in a nebuliser to treat sudden severe asthma symptoms.

It is a type of muscarinic antagonist inhaler, which is commonly used in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, it can also be used to treat asthma.

Atrovent is available as a CFC-free inhaler also known as Atrovent HFA inhaler. It is a type of inhaler that is better for the environment.

How does Atrovent work?

The active ingredient in Atrovent is ipratropium bromide. It is a short-acting muscarinic antagonist (SAMA).

SAMAs reverse the action of certain chemicals that promote inflammation, mucus production and constriction of the airways. This is what causes symptoms like wheezing, tight chest and shortness of breath.

They are fast-acting but work more slowly than short-acting bronchodilators (SABAs) like Salbutamol. They usually work in 30-60 minutes and the effects last for up to 3-6 hours.

What dose of Atrovent should I take?

Your doctor will tell you how often you need to take it. Your dosage will depend on the nature of your condition.

Each puff of an Atrovent CFC-free inhaler delivers 20mcg of ipratropium. Most people will need to take 1-2 puffs 3-4 times a day. Do not take more than 12 puffs a day.

If you forget to use Atrovent:

  • If you miss a dose, inhale it as soon as you remember.
  • Skip the missed dose if it is time for the next dose.
  • Do not take a double dose to make up for a forgotten dose.

If you take too many puffs, it may cause side effects.

How should I use Atrovent?

Atrovent should be used exactly as your doctor has prescribed. You should also read the patient information leaflet thoroughly before using your inhaler.

How to prepare your inhaler

Before using Atrovent for the first time or after 3 days of not using it, always test your inhaler. You can test it by shooting two sprays into the air.

How to use Atrovent

  1. Remove the cap from the mouthpiece
  2. Hold the inhaler pointing upwards and gently exhale
  3. Put the mouthpiece in your mouth right away
  4. Breathe in slowly and deeply through your mouth
  5. Firmly press the top of the inhaler, a puff of medicine will be released
  6. Take a breath and hold it for as long as you can
  7. Exhale slowly

Wait at least one minute between puffs if taking more than one. Replace the cap on the mouthpiece after use. To prevent dry mouth and throat irritation, rinse your mouth with water after using the inhaler.

If you find it difficult to breathe in and press the inhaler at the same time, you can use a spacer device.

Avoid getting any spray into your eyes while using Atrovent. This may cause eye pain or other side effects.

How to clean your inhaler

You must clean your inhaler regularly to ensure it works properly and prevent side effects like oral thrush.

To clean your inhaler:

  1. Remove the canister and cap.
  2. Wash the white mouthpiece in warm soapy water, ensuring the small hole in the mouthpiece is washed thoroughly.
  3. Rinse the mouthpiece in warm water and air dry.
  4. Once dry, replace the canister and cap.

This advice is not the same for all inhalers. Follow the cleaning instructions for your inhaler in the patient information leaflet.

Who can use Atrovent?

Atrovent is safe for most people with asthma or COPD. However, certain people cannot use it.

This includes people who are:

  • allergic to ipratropium or any other ingredients in Atrovent
  • allergic to medicines that contain atropine or medicines like it
  • pregnant or breastfeeding

Certain other groups of people can take it but should be cautious. This includes if you have:

  • cystic fibrosis
  • glaucoma
  • problems passing urine
  • prostate problems

If you’re not sure if any of these apply to you, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

What are the side effects of Atrovent?

Like all prescription medicines, Atrovent can cause side effects. However, most common side effects are mild and should go away on their own.

Common side effects of Atrovent include:
  • dry mouth
  • cough or throat irritation
  • headache
  • nausea
  • constipation

Rarely, you may experience serious side effects.

  • an allergic reaction (skin rash, itching, difficulty breathing or swelling of the mouth and face)
  • fast or uneven heartbeats (palpitations)
  • increased or irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)

If you experience any serious side effects or your side effects persist, consult your doctor as soon as possible.

For a full list of possible side effects, please refer to the patient leaflet.

Does Atrovent interact with other medicines?

Atrovent may react with other medicines you take. In particular, tell your doctor if you take:

  • other inhalers (e.g. reliever inhalers)
  • xanthine medicines (e.g. theophylline)

You should also not take multiple muscarinic medicines together such as long-acting muscarinics (LAMAs) like tiotropium.

If you take any other medicines, always ask your doctor.

How can I get Atrovent inhalers in the UK?

Atrovent is available on prescription for COPD and asthma treatment. It will need to be prescribed by your GP or asthma specialist. Once you are stable on it, you can get it on a repeat prescription from your GP or online.

Note: You must complete a short online consultation so that our doctor can ensure that the treatment is suitable for you. The above pricing should only be used as a reference. The final decision to issue this treatment lies with the prescribing doctor.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Plauto Filho Written by our editorial team Last reviewed 15-02-2024
Atrovent information
Product name Atrovent
Active ingredient(s) Ipratropium bromide
Manufacturer Boehringer Ingelheim
Trustpilot rating 4.6/5
Trustpilot reviews 50
Availability Out of stock
Description Atrovent is a preventative asthma treatment used to reduce the risk of asthma symptoms occurring
Exemption Subject to medical prescription
Administration Oral
Presentation Inhaler
Available dosage 20mcg
Application Men and women over 18 with asthma
Usage Use on a daily basis to prevent asthma symptoms
Drug class Anticholinergics, short-acting
Alcohol consumption No influence
When breastfeeding Not recommended, ask your doctor for alternatives
When pregnant Not recommended, ask your doctor for alternatives
Atrovent reviews
Pack of Atrovent Inhaler CFC-Free 20 micrograms/actuation pressurised inhalation solution Excellent 4.6 50 patients have reviewed Atrovent on Trustpilot
31 Aug

Would definitely use again!

Ann Jones

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What to do during an asthma attack without your inhaler

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