The anticholinergics are bronchodilator medicines used to treat and prevent bronchoconstriction, an abnormal contraction of the bronchial wall muscles. They are administered by inhalation. The major medicines in this family are ipratropium and tiotropium. They are used to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
How do the anticholinergic bronchodilators work?
The anticholinergics act on the bronchial muscle receptors. They dilate the bronchial smooth muscle, allowing air to pass into the lungs. These medicines act quickly, after a few minutes. They have the advantage that they are little if at all absorbed by the bronchi so that their local effect predominates over their systemic effect.
Do they have contraindications or precautions?
Inhalation of anticholinergic bronchodilators can cause dry mouth, visual disturbance and dilatation of the pupils. They can also cause problems with urination.
- Merck Manuel, 4th edition
- Afssaps website consulted on 02 August 2011
Anticholinergic bronchodilators are used to treat COPD. © Phovoir
Anticholinergic bronchodilator - 1 Photo