What are anticholinergic bronchodilators?

Anticholinergic bronchodilators are medications used to open the lungs when they are in spasm for conditions such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Anticholinergic medications act on the smooth muscles to cause relaxation.

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

Anticholinergic bronchodilators relax the muscles that control your airways to open them up for better air flow. Anticholinergic bronchodilators include aclidinium (Tudorza), glycopyrrolate (Seebri), ipratropium (Atrovent), tiotropium (Spiriva), and umeclidinium (Incruse Ellipta). Tiotropium and umeclidinium are the longest-acting and are used once a day. Aclidinium works the fastest and is used twice a day. Glycopyrrolate is also used twice a day. Ipratropium is used 4 times a day.

Some products, such as Combivent and DuoNeb, combine ipratropium with the beta-agonist albuterol in a single inhaler. Anoro Ellipta combines umeclidinium with the long-acting beta-agonist vilanterol in a single inhaler. Stiolto Respimat combines tiotropium with the long-acting beta-agonist olodaterol in a single inhaler. Utibron is a combination of glycopyrrolate and indacaterol.

Two anticholinergic bronchodilators available in the US are used to treat asthma. These are ipratropium (Atrovent) and tiotropium (Spiriva). 

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