Ipratropium bromide, sold under the trade name Atrovent among others, is a medication which opens up the medium and large airways in the lungs. It is used to treat the symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma. It is used by inhaler or nebulizer. Onset of action is typically within 15 to 30 minutes and lasts for three to five hours.
Ipratropium bromide was developed in Germany in 1976. It was approved for medical use in the United States in 1986.It is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines, the most effective and safe medicines needed in a health system. Ipratropium is available as a generic medication.The wholesale price in the developing world is about 6.60 USD for a 200 dose inhaler. In the United States, a month worth of medication costs 100 to 200 USD.
Ipratropium as a nasal solution sprayed into the nostrils can reduce rhinorrhea but will not help nasal congestion.
Combination with beta-adrenergic agonists increases the dilating effect on the bronchi.
Common side effects include dry mouth, cough, and inflammation of the airways. Potentially serious side effects include urinary retention, worsening spasms of the airways, and a severe allergic reaction. It appears to be safe in pregnancy and breastfeeding. Ipratropium is a muscarinic antagonist, a type of anticholinergic, which works by causing smooth muscles to relax.
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