Asthma is a common lung condition that causes occasional breathing difficulties.
It affects people of all ages and often starts in childhood, although it can also develop for the first time in adults.
There’s currently no cure, but there are simple treatments that can help keep the symptoms under control so it doesn’t have a big impact on your life.
The main symptoms of asthma are:
wheezing (a whistling sound when breathing)
a tight chest, which may feel like a band is tightening around it
The symptoms can sometimes get temporarily worse. This is known as an asthma attack.
Several conditions can cause similar symptoms, so it’s important to get a proper diagnosis and correct treatment.
Your GP will usually be able to diagnose asthma by asking about symptoms and carrying out some simple tests.
Asthma self-assessment tool
Asthma is usually treated by using an inhaler, a small device that lets you breathe in medicines.
The main types are:
reliever inhalers – used when needed to quickly relieve asthma symptoms for a short time
preventer inhalers – used every day to prevent asthma symptoms occurring
Some people also need to take tablets.
Causes and triggers
Asthma is caused by swelling (inflammation) of the breathing tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs. This makes the tubes highly sensitive, so they temporarily narrow.
It may occur randomly or after exposure to a trigger. Common asthma triggers include:
allergies – to house dust mites, animal fur or pollen, for example
smoke, pollution and cold air
infections like colds or flu
Identifying and avoiding your asthma triggers can help you keep your symptoms under control.
Although asthma can normally be kept under control, it’s still a serious condition that can cause a number of problems.
This is why it’s so important to follow your treatment plan and not ignore your symptoms if they’re getting worse.
Badly controlled asthma can cause problems such as:
feeling tired all the time
underperformance at or absence from work or school
stress, anxiety or depression
disruption of your work and leisure because of unplanned visits to your GP or hospital
lung infections (pneumonia)
delays in growth or puberty in children
There’s also a risk of severe asthma attacks, which can be life-threatening.
What is an Atrovent Inhaler and how does it work?
This is an inhaler and contains a medicine called ipratropium bromide. This belongs to a group of medicines called anticholinergics which act as bronchodilators. It is used to make breathing easier for people with asthma or ‘chronic obstructive pulmonary disease’ (COPD), often referred to as chronic bronchitis. You may have difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, wheezing or tightness in your chest.
ATROVENT works by opening up your airways.
How do I use Atrovent?
Adults (including the elderly)
• One or two puffs to be inhaled three or four times daily
• Sometimes, in early treatment, up to four puffs at a time may be taken
Children 6-12 yrs
• One or two puffs to be inhaled three times daily
Children under 6 yrs
• One puff to be inhaled three times daily
When children are using this medicine they must be supervised by a responsible adult.
Do not use more than your doctor has told you. See your doctor straight away if:
• You feel that your inhaler is not working as well as usual
• You need to use the inhaler more than your doctor has recommended
Your doctor may need to check how well your medicine is working. In some cases your doctor may need to change your medicine.
Testing Your Inhaler
To make sure that your inhaler is working, test fire it twice into the air before using it for the first time and whenever your inhaler has not been used for 3 days or more.
It is important to clean your inhaler regularly. Otherwise itmay not work properly.
•Remove the canister and cap
•Wash and clean the white mouthpiece in warm soapywater
• Rinse in warm water and allow to air-dry without using any heating system
• Make sure the small hole in the mouthpiece is washed through thoroughly
• Once the white mouthpiece is dry, replace the canister and the cap
Make sure you do not run out of ATROVENT
The inhaler has been designed to deliver 200 puffs of your medicine. However, it is not possible to tell when the inhaler
is empty and when the 200 puffs have been used. There may still be a small amount of fluid left over in the container.
Please make sure that your inhaler is replaced after you have taken 200 puffs (usually after 3-4 weeks of regular use)
so that you can be certain that you are getting the right amount of your medicine in each puff.
Like all medicines, ATROVENT can cause side effects, although not everybody gets them.
Tell your doctor straight away if you notice any the following serious side effects – you may need urgent medical treatment:
• If after taking ATROVENT you are wheezy or have other difficulties in breathing, do not take any more (unless you have been told to by your doctor). You may need to take a fast-acting reliever inhaler such as salbutamol to help your breathing. Your doctor may decide that you need different medicines to help your breathing
• Allergic reactions – the signs may include skin rash and itching (affects less than 1 in 100 people). In severe cases the signs include swelling of your mouth and face, sudden difficulties in breathing and reduction of your blood pressure. Tightening of your throat (affects less than 1 in
• Palpitations (fast or uneven heart beats) or quickening of the heart rate (affects less than 1 in 100 people)
• Increased heart rate or irregular heart rhythm such as atrial fibrillation (affects less than 1 in 1000 people)
See your doctor straight away if you have any of these side effects.
The side effects described below have been experienced by people taking ATROVENT and they are listed as either common, uncommon or rare.
Common (affects less than 1 in 10 people)
• Headache, dizziness
• Dry mouth, feeling sick (nausea), stomach upset or discomfort
• Cough and throat irritation when you have just used ATROVENT
Uncommon (affects less than 1 in 100 people)
• Itching, skin rash
• Unexpected tightness of the chest, swelling of the throat, dry throat
• Blurred vision, dilated pupils, glaucoma, painful, stinging, red or swelling of the eyes, see colours or lights
• Diarrhoea, constipation or being sick
• Mouth or lip sores
• Problems passing water (urine), especially if you already have problems passing urine
Rare (affects less than 1 in 1000 people)
• Difficulty focusing
• Nettle rash (urticaria)
If any of the spray accidentally gets into your eyes you may get painful, stinging or red eyes, dilated pupils, blurred vision, see colours or lights. If this happens, talk to your doctor for advice. If you get problems with your eyes at any other time, talk to your doctor for advice. You may be developing glaucoma, which will need treatment straight away. If your eyes are affected in any way do not drive or operate machinery.
Reporting of side effects
If you get any side effects, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse. This includes any possible side effects not listed in this leaflet. You can also report side effects directly (see
details below). By reporting side effects you can help provide more information on the safety of this medicine.
Yellow Card Scheme
Website: www.mhra.gov.uk/yellowcard or search for MHRA Yellow Card in the Google Play or Apple App Store
Malta ADR Reporting
Further information can be found on the manufacturers
Paitient Information Leaflet and printed if required.