Combivent is used to treat the symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It comes in a metered-dose inhaler and is generally used four times a day. Side effects can include bronchitis, headaches, and upper respiratory tract infections. A few of the conditions that you should let your healthcare provider know about before you use the drug include glaucoma, high blood pressure, and seizures.
What Is Combivent?Combivent® (ipratropium and albuterol inhaler) is a prescription medication used to prevent airway spasms (also known as bronchospasms) caused by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Combivent contains a combination of two medications: ipratropium bromide (Atrovent®) and albuterol sulfate (Proair®, Proventil®, Ventolin®). It is approved for treating COPD in people who still have breathing problems after trying one of these medications.
In order to comply with the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer, Combivent inhalers (in their original form) will not be available after July 2013 because they contain chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), chemicals that deplete the ozone layer. A new formulation, Combivent Respimat, became available starting in October 2012. People using the old Combivent inhaler will need to get a new prescription in order to switch to the new Combivent Respimat inhaler.
Who Makes It?Combivent is made by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals.
How Does It Work?The albuterol component of Combivent belongs to a class of drugs called beta-adrenergic receptor agonists, or beta agonists for short. Beta agonists stimulate beta receptors in the body, including those on the muscles around the airways. This stimulation causes the muscles to relax, which opens up the airways and allows more air into and out of the lungs.
The other component of Combivent (ipratropium) belongs to a group of medications known as anticholinergics or antimuscarinics. By binding to specific receptors in the airways, called muscarinic receptors, ipratropium helps to relax the smooth muscle of the airways and allow more air into and out of the lungs.