New drug for COPD lets patients breathe more easily

February 23, 2004

The FDA recently approved tiotropium (Spiriva HandiHaler, Pfizer/Boehringer-Ingelheim) inhalation powder for the long-term, once-daily, maintenance treatment of bronchospasm associated with COPD, including bronchitis and emphysema. In the airways, tiotropium inhibits muscarinic (M3) receptors at the smooth muscle, leading to bronchodilation. The manufacturer anticipates that tiotropium will be available in pharmacies by mid-year.