Combivent is a nebuliser solution indicated for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. It is marketed in the UK by Boehringer Ingelheim, and contains a combination of two active constituents, both of which aid the dilation of the airways, and facilitate easier breathing.
- Adept at treating COPD
- Inhaled through a nebuliser
- Easy to use door.
COPD is an umbrella term, which refers to diseases of the lungs and airways, such as chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive airways disease and emphysema. Someone with one of these conditions will usually experience shortness of breath when they exercise, a phlegmy cough, and recurrent problems with chest infections.
These conditions share certain characteristics with asthma, but are different in many ways too. For instance, a person with asthma experiences inflammation to the airways which may come and go; whereas someone with COPD will usually have sustained long-lasting damage to their airways, and have more frequent or continuous symptoms as a result.
Chronic bronchitis is characterised by irritation in the lungs and connecting passages, which results in the production of phlegm; while emphysema is caused by the erosion of walls between air sacs in the lungs, inhibiting the conversion of gases, and resulting in decreased oxygen intake. COPD in most cases is typically a combination of these two illnesses, and the number one cause is smoking.
Particularly in those instances where a person smokes for a long time or smokes heavily, tissue in the airways can become irreversibly damaged, causing inflammation and chronic problems. Other factors can also bring about COPD, such as exposure to air pollutants and dust; and it is also thought that some people have a genetic predisposition to COPD.
Salbutamol and ipratropium bromide are the functioning ingredients in Combivent. These are taken through a nebuliser device, and work in the body in slightly different ways. Salbutamol is known as a beta-2 agonist, and is often used in asthma reliever treatments. It soothes symptoms of irritation and breathless by calming beta-2 receptors in the body, and encouraging muscle walls lining the airways to relax.
Ipratropium bromide on the other hand, while also working on receptors in the body, acts a signal blocker. In COPD, muscarinic receptors can become excited by a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. This can result in muscle tenseness around the airways, causing them to become narrow, and making breathing harder. By interfering in this messaging process, ipratropium induces the relaxation of muscles, and allows for the dilation of the airways. This enables easier breathing.
We do not offer this medication through our pharmacy service. To be prescribed this item, we recommend you speak to your GP or respiratory nurse in person.
To get the best possible results from Combivent UDV, it is vital to follow the directions issued by your prescriber. Adhering to the guidelines set out in the patient information leaflet will enable you to lower the risk of possible side effects.
- Administer as instructed by your doctor.
- For the treatment of COPD, this will usually be one dose unit, inhaled 3-4 times per day.
- Combivent is taken through a nebuliser. Prepare this according to the instructions provided.
- Carefully separate one vial from the rest.
- Remove the top and squeeze the contents into your nebuliser cup.
- A doctor may instruct you to dilute the solution. If so, they will specify how to do this.
- Use your nebuliser as directed.
- Never exceed the amount your doctor has prescribed for you.
- If you need help or are unsure how to operate your nebuliser, ask your doctor to demonstrate for you.
Please refer to the leaflet provided for more detailed instructions on how to use this product.
Notify your doctor right away if you experience any side effects which you think may be harmful. These include signs of an allergic reaction, or any instances where your condition worsens after using this medication.
Uncommon (1 in 100 people or less):
Cough, headache, feeling nervous, shakiness, dizziness, throat irritation, dry mouth, feeling sick, increase in blood pressure, heart rate or uneven heartbeat, voice problems, or skin reactions.
Rare (1 in 1,000 people or less):
Irregular heartbeat, abnormally fast heart rate, chest pain, blurred vision, dilated pupils, glaucoma, painful, stinging, or red eyes, swelling of the eyes, seeing colours or lights, increased sweating, tightening of the chest, dry throat, swelling of the throat, difficulty in breathing or speaking, inflammation of the mouth, diarrhoea, constipation, being sick, muscle cramps, muscle weakness and pain, difficulty in passing water, weakness, fall in blood pressure or mood changes.
This is not a complete of the side effects this product may cause. A more detailed account can be found in the patient information leaflet.
Taking it with other medicines
Let your doctor know if you are taking any other treatments during consultation for this product. It may interact with the following: steroids such as prednisolone; water tablets; antidepressants; drugs which help breathing; anticholinergics; digoxin; beta blockers like propranolol; or beta mimetics including fenoterol.
Conditions to look out for
Make sure you disclose your medical history to your prescriber before using this treatment. It should not be used by those who have or have ever had: an allergy to products which contain atropine; a heart problem known as hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy; or an increased heartbeat.
It may also be unsafe for anyone who has or has had the following in the past: glaucoma; heart or circulation problems; diabetes; an overactive thyroid; difficulty passing water; prostate problems; cystic fibrosis; or pheochromocytoma.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
If you are pregnant, trying to conceive or breastfeeding, do not use Combivent and speak to your doctor.
Driving and using machinery
Combivent may cause dizziness and sight problems. Do not drive or use machines if you are affected.
Operations and tests
Inform your tester prior to taking any sport drug tests if you are using Combivent, as it may produce a positive result.
This medication may be affected by some types of anaesthetics. Tell your doctor prior to surgery if you are using this drug.
Can I still drink alcohol?
Yes. It is not thought that drinking alcohol will interfere with how this product works.
Will I still be able to drive?
Yes. Your capacity to drive is not likely to be affected. But, if you experience any side effects which may make doing so dangerous or unsafe, do not drive, and contact your doctor for advice.
Can I use this medicine while pregnant?
No. It should not be used by those who are pregnant, trying for a baby, or breastfeeding.
How do I store it?
Keep in the original packaging to protect the product from excess light or moisture, and store it below 25°C.
Am I allergic to anything in the medicine?
Combivent is composed of the following ingredients: ipratropium bromide, salbutamol, sodium chloride, (1N) hydrochloric acid and purified water. Refrain from its use if you are allergic to any of these.
Is it available over-the-counter?
It can only be obtained with a prescription.
Is it right for me?
Your GP or respiratory nurse will determine the best treatment for you, based on a review of your condition.
We recommend that you contact your GP surgery to have your prescription renewed for this product.
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