Spiriva can cause mild or serious side effects. The following lists contain some of the key side effects that may occur while taking Spiriva. These lists don’t include all possible side effects. Your side effects may vary from those listed below, depending on whether you’re using Spiriva HandiHaler or Spiriva Respimat.
For more information on the possible side effects of Spiriva, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can give you tips on how to deal with any side effects that may be bothersome.
Note: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tracks side effects of drugs they’ve approved. If you would like to report to the FDA a side effect you’ve had with Spiriva, you can do so through MedWatch.
More common side effects
The more common side effects of Spiriva can include:
- upper respiratory tract infection, such as the common cold
- dry mouth
- sinus infections
- sore throat
- chest soreness
- urinary tract infection (UTI)
- runny nose
- increased heart rate
- blurry vision
Most of these side effects may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
Serious side effects
Serious side effects from Spiriva aren’t common, but they can occur. Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.
Serious side effects and their symptoms can include:
- Paradoxical bronchospasm (sudden tightening of your airway that’s unexpected because the drug is meant to relax your airway). Symptoms can include:
- sudden trouble breathing
- Acute narrow-angle glaucoma (increased pressure in your eye). Symptoms can include:
- sudden eye pain
- blurry vision
- seeing halos or colored images
- redness in your eye
- Inability to pass urine. Symptoms can include:
- painful urination
- being unable to completely empty your bladder
- Severe allergic reaction, which is explained below in “Side effect details.”
Side effects in children
Spiriva Respimat is used to improve lung function in children with asthma who are ages 6 years and older. This drug is used as a maintenance treatment to control asthma symptoms over time.
In clinical studies, there were no differences in the common side effects seen in children and teenagers using Spiriva Respimat compared to adults using the drug.
Spiriva HandiHaler isn’t approved for use in children.
Side effect details
You may wonder how often certain side effects occur with this drug, or whether certain side effects pertain to it. Here’s some detail on several of the side effects this drug may or may not cause.
As with most drugs, some people can have an allergic reaction after taking Spiriva. But it’s not known for sure how many people have had allergic reactions to the drug.
Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:
- skin rash or raised red patches on the skin
- flushing (warmth and redness in your skin)
A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include:
- swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
- swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat
- trouble breathing
Call your doctor right away if you have a severe allergic reaction to Spiriva. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.
Although it’s very rare, some people taking Spiriva have had heart effects while using the drug. In fact, some people have had chest pain while using Spiriva. General chest soreness can sometimes happen just from inhaling the drug into your lungs. For some people, this type of pain is confused with having a problem with their heart.
Also, some people using Spiriva have had changes in the electrical signaling in their heart.
In a clinical study, 16% to 20% of people using Spiriva HandiHaler had a slightly lengthened QT interval. In comparison, 1% to 12% of people taking a placebo (no active drug) had the same result. (QT interval is a measurement recorded on an EKG.) In some cases, this side effect can lead to a condition called long QT syndrome. However, long QT syndrome hasn’t been reported in anyone taking Spiriva.
If you have questions about how Spiriva may affect your heart, talk with your doctor. And if you have any symptoms that concern you, such as chest pain or irregular heart rate, call your doctor right away. If you feel that your symptoms are life threatening, call 911.
Oral thrush (yeast infection in your mouth) is a possible side effect of Spiriva, but it doesn’t occur very often. With oral thrush, a fungus called Candida albicans overgrows inside your mouth. This condition usually makes the inside of your mouth look white or chalky. It can also make your mouth feel sore.
In clinical studies, oral thrush occurred in about 1% to 3% of people using Spiriva. The side effect occurred in fewer people using a placebo (no active drug).
Oral thrush is more likely to happen if you’re also using an inhaled corticosteroid with Spiriva. Examples of inhaled corticosteroids include:
- beclomethasone diproprionate (QVAR)
- budesonide (Pulmicort)
- fluticasone (Flovent HFA)
- mometasone furoate (Asmanex)
If you have symptoms of oral thrush, tell your doctor. They can recommend treatment for the condition, and they can also suggest ways to help prevent this side effect.
Eye effects, including glaucoma and blurry vision
Spiriva has caused glaucoma (increased pressure in your eye) and blurry vision in some people using the drug. But it’s not known for sure how many people have had these side effects.
If you have a history of glaucoma, talk with your doctor before starting Spiriva. This drug should be used with caution in people who’ve had glaucoma in the past because Spiriva may worsen the condition.
Symptoms of glaucoma and other eye issues can include:
- pain or discomfort in your eye
- blurry vision
- seeing halos
- redness in your eye
If you have any of these symptoms while you’re using Spiriva, call your doctor right away. They can check to see what’s causing your symptoms, and they’ll recommend whether you need any medical treatment.
Weight gain (not a side effect)
There aren’t any reports of Spiriva causing weight gain in people using the drug to treat either asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). If you have concerns about gaining weight while you’re using Spiriva, talk with your doctor.
High blood pressure (not a side effect)
Very rarely, Spiriva has been related to increased blood pressure in people taking the drug for asthma treatment. In fact, in clinical studies of people with asthma, increased blood pressure occurred in 1% to 2% of people taking the drug. But it’s not known for sure whether these people had high blood pressure before they started taking Spiriva.
If you have questions about how Spiriva may affect your blood pressure, talk with your doctor. And if you already have high blood pressure, talk with your doctor about whether it’s safe for you to use Spiriva.