Spiriva and Alcohol

by on July 19, 2012

Spiriva (tiotropium bromide) is a prescription medicine that belongs to a group of drugs called anticholinergics. This class of drugs works by opening up the air passages to the lungs, allowing easier breathing. It is supplied in capsule form which contains dry powder of tiotropium bromide. Using the HandiHaler device the medication should be inhaled into the lungs.  It is prescribed as a maintenance medication in the management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including bronchitis and emphysema.

Can Alcohol be Taken While On Spiriva?

Since alcohol is known to interact with a number of medications, many people taking this medication are wondering whether it is safe to consume alcohol while on Spiriva treatment. In the case of Spiriva, alcohol is not known to cause interaction when taken with this bronchodilator. Although combining these two substances is unlikely to cause serious drug interactions, it is best to avoid alcohol while taking Spiriva.

Theoretically, alcohol may enhance the anticholinergic effects of Spiriva as well as associated side effects. Drinking too much alcohol can increase the chances of side effects that include:

  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry mouth

In some patients already suffering from these side effects, alcohol can make the symptoms worse. For instance, alcohol can dry the mouth and even make it worse. Therefore, if you experience dry mouth with Spiriva, it may be best for you to avoid drinking alcohol altogether.

Since Spiriva is mainly used by patients with COPD, it is important to understand that drinking alcohol may not be safe for people suffering from this medical condition. Too much alcohol can lead to slow breathing and can cause difficulty coughing up mucus. Furthermore, alcoholic beverages are not that nutritive. It is best to substitute it with more nutritive drinks. It can also possibly interact with other medicines you currently take, such as oral steroid. Consult your healthcare provider for specific guidelines about alcohol consumption. He or she may recommend avoiding or limiting alcohol intake.

If you decide to drink alcohol while taking Spiriva, you should avoid engaging in activities that require clear vision and focus such as driving or operating machineries or appliances. As a matter of fact, driving after drinking alcohol is not safe, with or without medications. Spiriva may lower your tolerance to alcohol therefore it is suggested that you limit your alcohol consumption. Although most people may be able to safely drink moderate amounts of alcohol, do not drink a large amount of alcohol at an instant. Try to drink slowly to see its effects on you.