What Is Ipratropium and Albuterol Inhaler Used For?

The ipratropium and albuterol inhaler is used for treating chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in adults. Healthcare providers may also recommend it for "off-label" uses, such as the treatment of asthma. Ipratropium and albuterol inhaler uses in children have not been approved. It consists of a combination of two medications, which each work differently to open up the airways and allow more air into and out of the lungs.

What Is the Ipratropium and Albuterol Inhaler Used For? -- An Overview

The ipratropium and albuterol inhaler (Combivent®) is a prescription medication used to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including emphysema and chronic bronchitis. The inhaler contains two medications that work in two different ways to keep the airways open.
 
In order to comply with the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer, Combivent inhalers (in their original form) will not be available after July 2013 because they contain chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), chemicals that deplete the ozone layer. A new formulation, Combivent Respimat, became available starting in October 2012. People using the old Combivent inhaler will need to get a new prescription in order to switch to the new Combivent Respimat inhaler.
 

What Is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a lung disease in which the lungs are damaged, leading to breathing problems. In people who have COPD, the airways (the tubes that carry air into and out of the lungs) are partly obstructed, making it difficult to breathe. Chronic bronchitis and emphysema are two kinds of COPD. While smoking is the most common cause, there are other possible causes of COPD. Common COPD symptoms may include:
 
  • Wheezing (a whistling or squeaky sound when you breathe)
  • Sputum (mucus) production
  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath, especially with exercise
  • Chest tightness.
     
Depending on the severity of your COPD, your healthcare provider may recommend a number of medications as part of your COPD treatment, including:
 
  • Bronchodilators
  • Steroids (such as inhaled steroids)
  • A yearly flu shot
  • Pneumococcal vaccine.
     
Lifestyle changes are also recommended (see Living With COPD and COPD Rehabilitation). The ipratropium and albuterol inhaler is a bronchodilator, which means that it helps to open up the airways. It is approved for use in people who have already tried one of the components of the inhaler (ipratropium or albuterol) and continue to have breathing problems.
 

Information on Ipratropium and Albuterol

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