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Alternatives to Spiriva

author image Charlotte Waterworth
Based in London, Charlotte Waterworth has been writing about health since 2000. Her work has appeared in trade magazines, including "Independent Community Pharmacist," "Pharmafocus," "Current Drug Discovery" and "Hospital Healthcare Europe." She is a member of the European Medical Writers Association. She holds an honors Bachelor of Science in biochemistry and a doctoral degree in gene therapy, both from Cardiff University.
Alternatives to Spiriva
A young girl is breathing from an inhaler. Photo Credit 4774344sean/iStock/Getty Images


Spiriva is the brand name of the drug tiotropium, an inhaled prescription drug used to prevent bronchospasm in patients with respiratory disorders such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and bronchitis. Spiriva, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2004, is an anticholinergic drug that relaxes the airways to ease breathing. It may not be suitable for all patients including those with narrow-angle glaucoma, an enlarged prostate or a bladder obstruction. Several alternatives to Spiriva are available.


Albuterol, also known by the brand names Proventil, Ventolin and ProAir, is a bronchodilator indicated to relieve wheezing and chest tightness caused by asthma and COPD. It works by relaxing the airways. Albuterol is administered using an inhaler or a nebulizer. It may not be suitable for patients with a heart rhythm disorder, a seizure disorder or diabetes. It may also interact with other medications including beta blockers, certain antidepressants and other bronchodilators. Common side effects include sleep problems, muscle pain, dry mouth and dizziness.


Symbicort combines two drugs, budesonide and formoterol fumarate, and prevents bronchospasm in patients with COPD or asthma. It is administered by aerosol inhalation. Budeonside is a corticosteroid that reduces inflammation, while formoterol fumarate is a long-acting beta 2 adrenergic agonist that relaxes muscles in the airways. RxList.com notes that Symbicort should only be used by patients whose symptoms are note adequately controlled by other medications. This is because formoterol may be associated with a increased risk of asthma-related death. Common side effects may include headache, back pain, nausea and sore throat.


Advair combines two drugs, fluticasone and salmeterol, and is indicated to prevent breathing difficulties and chest tightness associated with COPD and asthma. Advair is supplied as a powder for inhalation using a special device known as a Diskus. Fluticasone is a steroid that reduces inflammation in the airways, while salmeterol is a long-acting beta 2 adrenergic agonist that relaxes the airways. Like Symbicort, Advair may be associated with a increased risk of asthma-related death. Advair may slow a child's growth and increase the risk of glaucoma, cataracts or osteoporosis in adults, notes MedlinePlus. Common side effects may include sinus pain, sore throat, sneezing and stomach pain.

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