COPD Home > Combivent Side Effects

Although most people do not experience any problems while taking Combivent, side effects are still possible. Some of the most common side effects include bronchitis, upper respiratory tract infections, and headaches. If you experience more serious side effects of Combivent (such as an irregular heart rhythm, chest pain, or vision changes), be sure to let your healthcare provider know right away.

Combivent Side Effects: An Introduction

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.


As with any medicine, side effects are possible with Combivent® (ipratropium and albuterol inhaler). However, not everyone who takes the medication will experience side effects. In fact, most people tolerate it quite well. If side effects do occur, in most cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or can easily be treated by you or your healthcare provider.
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with Combivent. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list of Combivent side effects with you.)

Common Combivent Side Effects

The old Combivent inhaler has been studied thoroughly in clinical trials, in which the drug was compared to each of its two components (ipratropium and albuterol). Because these studies did not compare Combivent to a placebo (an inhaler with no active ingredient), it was difficult to determine if the side effects were due to the medications, the disease itself, or other problems.
In these studies, the most common side effects of Combivent included:
  • Bronchitis -- in up to 12.3 percent of people
  • Upper respiratory tract infections -- up to 10.9 percent
  • Headaches -- up to 5.6 percent
  • Difficulty breathing -- up to 4.5 percent
  • Coughing -- up to 4.2 percent.
Other common side effects (occurring in 1 to 3 percent of people) included:
Studies have compared the old Combivent inhaler to the new Combivent Respimat and have shown that they are quite similar in terms of side effects. 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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