Spiriva with Handihaler (Tiotropium) and/or alternatives
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General Information On Spiriva Handihaler
Spiriva Handihaler is prescribed to treat symptoms of chronic pulmonary disease (COPD) which includes emphysema and bronchitis. The generic name of the medication is Tiotropium. The drug works by opening the narrowed airways to allow easier breathing. Spiriva Handihaler is an anticholinergic agent which is helpful in treating both conditions of COPD- bronchitis and emphysema. You should buy Spiriva Handihaler only as per the recommendation of your doctor and use it as instructed.
Side Effects for Spiriva Handihaler
Some people may experience side effects after using Spiriva Handihaler. The common side effects that you may experience are constipation, sinus inflammation, blurred vision, stomach pain, mild nosebleed, dry mouth or vomiting. You should immediately contact your doctor if any of the side effects persist for a long time or become bothersome. Some people may also experience severe allergic reactions such as swelling of the lips, mouth, or tongue, breathing problems and tightness in the chest, new or worsened breathing problems, painful urination, irregular or fast heartbeat, eye pain or discomfort, severe constipation, problem swallowing, or vision changes. You should immediately seek medical help if you experience any severe allergic reactions.
The once-daily dose of Spiriva Handihaler is intended for maintenance treatment for COPD. The dosage should not be used for initial treatment of acute episodes (rescue therapy) of bronchospasm. Some people may experience hypersensitivity reactions such as swelling of the tongue, lips or throat immediately after taking the dose. Some people may also notice a rash or experience itching after taking the recommended dose of Spiriva from the Handihaler device.
If you experience an allergic type reaction you should immediately stop taking the dosage and inform your doctor, who may recommend alternative treatment. Patients who are hypersensitive to milk proteins should be extremely careful while using Spiriva Handihaler. Spiriva Handihaler is not a rescue medicine, and it cannot be used to treat sudden breathing problems. People who are allergic to Ipratropium or Tiotropium should not use Spiriva Handihaler. You should be careful while taking the dose of Spiriva Handihaler and not let the Spiriva powder go into the eyes.
Spiriva Handihaler Dosage
The dosage that is used in the Handihaler device is available in the form of capsule. The Spiriva capsules that are intended to be used with the Handihaler device should not be swallowed. The intended effect of medication on the lungs can only be obtained when the Spiriva capsule is used in Handihaler. Doctors generally recommend two inhalations of one capsule of Spiriva through Handihaler. The Spiriva capsule is kept in the central chamber of the Handihaler device. The capsule is pierced by releasing the green piercing button on the side of the device. The medication is dispersed into the air (inside the device), which is then inhaled by the patient through the mouthpiece. It is necessary that you consult your doctor before you buy Spiriva Handihaler.
Spiriva may react with other medications that can hamper the effectiveness of the dose and also cause side effects. The medication may react with drugs such as Acetyl cholinesterase inhibitors which include Galantamine (Razadyne), Donepezil (Aricept), Tacrine (Cognex) or Rivastigmine (Exelon). The drug may also react with Anticholinergic medications such as Glycopyrrolate (Robinul), Homatropine (Hycodan), Hyoscyamine (Levsin) and several other Anticholinergic medications. It is important to inform your doctor of all medications you are taking including over the counter products and supplements
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What is a "Generic" medication/drug?
Generic drugs are medications that have comparable medicinal ingredients as the original brand name drug, but which are generally cheaper in price. Nearly 1 in 3 drugs dispensed are "generic". They undergo testing to ensure that they are similar to their "brand" counterparts in:
- Active Ingredient (e.g. "Pravastatin" is the active ingredient in brand name Pravachol)
- Dosage (e.g. 10 mg of the active ingredient)
- Safety (e.g. same or similar side effects, drug interactions)
- Performance (e.g. 10 mg of a "generic" can be substituted for 10 mg of the "brand" and have the same therapeutic result)
- Intended use (e.g. both "generic" and "brand" would be prescribed for the same conditions)
What this means is that "generic" medications can be used as a substitute of their brand equivalents with the comparable therapeutic results. There are a few exceptions (examples are outlined at the end of this page) and as always you should consult your physician before switching from a brand name medications to a generic or vice versa.
What differences are there between generic and brand?
While generics and brand equivalent drugs contain the same active ingredients, they may be different in the following ways:
- Appearance (e.g. the scoring or markings)
The color, shape and size of the medication come from the fillers that are added to the active ingredients to make the drug. These fillers that are added to the drug have no medical use and do not to change the effectiveness of the final product. A generic drug must contain comparable active ingredients and must have a comparable strength and dosage as the original brand name equivalent. Generic drugs can be more cost effective than purchasing the brand name.
Why do generics cost less than the brand name equivalents?
When a new drug is "invented", the company that discovered it has a patent on it that gives them the exclusive production rights for this medication. Once the patent expires in a country, other companies can bring the product to market under their own name. This patent prevents other companies from copying the drug during that time so they can earn back their Research and Development costs through being the exclusive supplier of the product. After the patent expires however, other companies can develop a "generic" version of the product. These versions generally are offered at much lower prices because the companies do not have the same development costs as the original company who developed the medication.
The main thing to realize here though is that the two products are therapeutically equivalent. They may look different, and be called something different.
How are Generic drugs tested to ensure quality and efficacy?
Generally speaking, the two most generally accepted methods to prove the safety of a generic version of a drug are to either repeat most of the chemistry, animal and human studies originally done, or to show that the drug performs comparably with the original brand name drug. This second option is called a "comparative bioavailability" study. During this type of study, volunteers are given the original drug, and then separately later the generic drug. The rates at which the drug is delivered to the patient (into their blood stream or otherwise absorbed) are measured to ensure they are the same. Because the same active ingredient is used the major concern is just that it delivers the common chemical(s) at the same rate so that they have the same effect. Please note that the methods that the manufacturers use may vary from country to country.