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How to Use a Spiriva Handihaler


Updated June 13, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.



Photo courtesy of Daniel More, www.allergies.about.com
Many people use once-daily Spiriva for maintenance treatment of their COPD. Spiriva is a long-acting bronchodilator medication that opens up the airways making it easier to breathe. The most important part of using a Spiriva Handihaler, however, is using it correctly. Incorrect inhaler usage is a common mistake and can negatively impact your treatment.

The following step-by-step guide will demonstrate the correct way to use a Spiriva Handihaler:

Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 5 minutes

Here's How:

  1. Open the grey dustcap of the Spiriva Handihaler device.
  2. Open the white top of the Spiriva Handihaler mouthpiece. That should reveal the the tiny slot where the capsule (also known as the capsule reservoir) will be inserted.
  3. Remove the capsule from the Spiriva capsule package. IMPORTANT: THE SPIRIVA CAPSULE SHOULD NEVER BE SWALLOWED!
  4. Place the capsule into the Spiriva capsule reservoir.
  5. Close the white mouthpiece cover on the Spiriva Handihaler device.
  6. Push the button on the side of the Handihaler. This punctures the Spiriva capsule and allows the medication to be released and subsequently inhaled.
  7. Place the Spiriva Handihaler to your mouth and tightly seal your lips around the mouthpiece. Breathe in quickly and deeply through the Spiriva Handihaler. You should hear a rattling sound as you take a deep breath. This indicates the medication is being dispensed correctly from the capsule.
  8. If possible, hold your breath for five to ten seconds, then breathe out normally.
  9. Rinse your mouth with water or brush your teeth after each use.
  10. Open the white mouthpiece cover and remove the capsule from the capsule reservoir.
  11. Close the white mouthpiece cover and grey dustcap of the Spiriva Handihaler. Throw the capsule away in the trash.
  12. Clean your Spiriva Handihaler once a month per the manufacturer's instruction.


  1. Never use anyone else's Spiriva Handihaler. Keep this and all other medication away from children.
  2. Do not use more than the recommended dose of Spiriva.
  3. Do not store used or unused capsules inside the Spiriva Handihaler.
  4. Do not remove a capsule from the package until it is ready to be used. Doing so may reduce its effectiveness.
  5. Avoid getting the powder from the Spiriva capsule into your eyes.

What You Need

  • Prescription from your doctor
  • Spiriva Handihaler
  • Spiriva capsules
  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. COPD
  4. COPD 101
  5. Using Your Inhaler
  6. How to Use a Spiriva Handihaler

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