Tiotropium is often prescribed to treat airway spasms caused by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It causes the smooth muscles of the airways to relax, which helps keep them open and prevent bronchospasms. The drug comes in capsule form, but the powder the capsule contains is inhaled using a special device. Possible side effects include upper respiratory infection and sinus infection.
Tiotropium is made jointly by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals and Pfizer, Inc.
How Does Tiotropium Work?
Tiotropium belongs to a group of medications known as anticholinergics or antimuscarinics. By binding to specific receptors (called muscarinic receptors) in the airway, tiotropium helps to relax the smooth muscle. With just one dose a day, the drug helps to prevent bronchospasms, which helps to keep the airways open.
Tiotropium was studied in the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). People taking the drug showed improved lung function, compared to those not taking it. In addition, these studies showed that the effects of each dose lasted for a full day, and people who took tiotropium were less likely to need "rescue" inhalers (such as albuterol).
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: Approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed August 9, 2007.
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