How does this medication work? What will it do for me?
Umeclidinium belongs to the class of medications called long-acting muscarinic antagonists (LAMA). It is used to reduce the symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) including chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
Umeclidinium works by relaxing the muscles in the walls of the small airways in the lungs. This allows the airways to open and makes it easier for air to move in and out of the lungs.
Umeclidinium should not be used as a rescue medication to relieve sudden attacks of COPD symptoms such as wheezing or shortness of breath. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for advice about rescue medications that are appropriate for you.
This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.
Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.
What form(s) does this medication come in?
Each blister of white powder on the foil strip contains 74.2 mg of micronized umeclidinium bromide, equivalent to 62.4 mg of umeclidinium. Nonmedicinal ingredients: lactose monohydrate and magnesium stearate. The lactose monohydrate contains milk proteins.
How should I use this medication?
The recommended dose of umeclidinium is one inhalation, taken once daily. Try to use the inhaler at the same time every day to get the most benefit from it and to help you remember to use it.
Have your doctor or pharmacist explain how to use the inhaler and read the instructions carefully before using the inhaler. If you have any questions about how to use the inhaler, check with your health care professional.
Open the inhaler only when you are going to use the medication immediately. Each time you open and close the cover, a dose is prepared for inhalation. If you do not use the dose, it will be wasted.
Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.
It is important to use this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor.
If you miss a dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light and moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children. Safely discard the inhaler device when the dose counter reads "0" or 6 weeks after you have opened the foil lid.
Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.
Who should NOT take this medication?
Do not use this medication if you:
- are allergic to umeclidinium or any ingredients of the medication
- have a severe hypersensitivity to milk proteins
What side effects are possible with this medication?
Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.
The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.
The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.
Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.
- common cold (runny nose, nasal congestion, sore throat)
- dry mouth
- pain (arm, leg, or back)
- stomach pain
Although most of the side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not seek medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
- fast or irregular heart beat
- joint or muscle pain
- symptoms of glaucoma (e.g., blurred vision, seeing halos of bright colours around lights, red eyes, increased pressure in your eyes, eye pain or discomfort)
- symptoms of a respiratory infection (e.g., shortness of breath, cough, chest pain)
- symptoms of urinary retention or infection (e.g., difficulty or pain urinating, frequent urination)
Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:
- sudden tightness of the chest, coughing or breathlessness immediately after using the medication
- signs of a serious allergic reaction (e.g., abdominal cramps, difficulty breathing, nausea and vomiting, or swelling of the face and throat)
Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?
Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Allergy: In rare cases, immediate allergic reactions may occur after using umeclidinium, causing hives, swelling around the throat and tongue, rash, and worsening of breathing problems. If this occurs, get emergency medical help at once.
Glaucoma: Umeclidinium may cause symptoms of glaucoma (increased pressure in the eyes), such as blurred vision or eye pain or pressure to become worse. If you have glaucoma, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Heart rhythm: Umeclidinium can cause changes to the normal rhythm of the heart, including an irregular heartbeat or rapid heartbeat. If you are at risk for heart rhythm problems (e.g., people with heart failure, angina, low potassium or magnesium levels), discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Inhalation-induced bronchospasm: Inhaled forms of medications may cause spasms of the airways, which make breathing difficult. If you experience this problem when using umeclidinium, stop using this medication immediately. Speak to your doctor if you experience any problems with breathing while taking this or other inhaled medication.
Smoking: If you smoke, discuss with your doctor or pharmacist the benefits of stopping smoking. Smoking contributes to the symptoms of COPD. People who stop smoking often see a significant improvement in their breathing symptoms.
Urinary tract problems: This medication can cause the symptoms of some urinary tract problems to become worse. If you have an enlarged prostate or other condition that causes urination to be difficult, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Worsening symptoms: If you find you need to use your short-acting ("rescue") inhaler more often or if your condition seems to worsen, call your doctor. If you have not been given instructions beforehand, contact your doctor immediately about what to do if any of the following situations occur (they may be signs of seriously worsening COPD):
- decreased effectiveness of short-acting, inhaled bronchodilators such as salbutamol, terbutaline, or fenoterol (less than 4 hours of relief)
- need for more inhalations than usual of short-acting, inhaled bronchodilators
Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: It is not known if umeclidinium passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking this medication, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children or people under the age of 18.
What other drugs could interact with this medication?
There may be an interaction between umeclidinium and any of the following:
- acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (e.g., donepezil, galantamine, rivastigmine)
- antihistamines (e.g., cetirizine, doxylamine, diphenhydramine, hydroxyzine, loratadine)
- antipsychotics (e.g., chlorpromazine, clozapine, haloperidol, olanzapine, quetiapine, risperidone)
- narcotic pain relievers (e.g., codeine, fentanyl, morphine, oxycodone)
- potassium chloride
- thiazide diuretics (water pills; e.g., hydrochlorothiazide, indapamide, metolazone)
- tricyclic antidepressants (e.g., amitriptyline, clomipramine, desipramine, trimipramine)
If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:
- stop taking one of the medications,
- change one of the medications to another,
- change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
- leave everything as is.
An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.
Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.