What Is Ipratropium HFA Inhaler Used For?
Although ipratropium HFA inhaler uses are primarily for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, it can also be used in an "off-label" fashion to treat asthma. It works by relaxing the smooth muscle in the airway, allowing more air to move in and out of the lungs. The ipratropium HFA inhaler is approved for use in adults only, not children.
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The ipratropium HFA inhaler (Atrovent® HFA) is a prescription medication used to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including emphysema and chronic bronchitis. The ipratropium HFA inhaler belongs to a class of medications known as anticholinergics or antimuscarinics.
COPD is a disease in which the lungs are damaged, leading to breathing problems. In people who have it, the airways (the tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs) are partly obstructed, making it difficult to get air in and out. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are two kinds of COPD. While smoking is the most common cause of COPD, there are other possible causes. Common COPD symptoms may include:
- Sputum (mucus) production
- Shortness of breath, especially with exercise
- Wheezing (a whistling or squeaky sound when you breathe)
- Chest tightness.
Depending on the severity of your COPD, your healthcare provider may recommend a number of medications as part of your treatment, including:
- Steroids (such as inhaled steroids)
- A yearly flu shot
- Pneumococcal vaccination.
Lifestyle changes are also recommended (see Living With COPD and COPD Rehabilitation). The ipratropium HFA inhaler is a bronchodilator, which means that it helps open up the airways.