Indacaterol for COPD (Onbrez Breezhaler)

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Use the inhaler every day.

Make sure you know how to use the device properly. If you are not sure, ask your nurse, pharmacist or doctor to show you.

Do not smoke. Smoking causes irritation to the lungs and will make your condition worse.

Type of medicineA long-acting beta2 agonist bronchodilator
Used forChronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
Also calledOnbrez® Breezhaler; Ultibro® Breezhaler (contains indacaterol with glycopyrronium)
Available asCapsules with an inhaler device

Indacaterol is called a bronchodilator, as it widens (dilates) your airways. It is intended to be used regularly to relieve airways-related problems in people who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It works by opening up the air passages in your lungs so that air can flow into your lungs more freely. This helps to ease symptoms such as coughing, wheezing and feeling breathless.

Use indacaterol every day. It is a long-acting bronchodilator, which means that it works throughout the day. It is prescribed to reduce your symptoms over the long term - it is not a rescue treatment for sudden breathlessness.

One brand of indacaterol inhaler (called Ultibro®) also contains another bronchodilator medicine called glycopyrronium. You could be prescribed this combination brand to help reduce the number of inhalers you need to use.

Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start using indacaterol it is important that your doctor knows:

  • If you have heart or blood vessel problems, or if you have an irregular heartbeat.
  • If you have high blood pressure.
  • If you have an overactive thyroid gland.
  • If you have high sugar levels in your blood (diabetes).
  • If you have been told by a doctor that you have low levels of potassium in your blood.
  • If you have fits, or epilepsy.
  • If you have any problems with the way your liver works.
  • If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding. This is because it is particularly important that your breathing is well controlled if you are pregnant.
  • If you are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
  • Before using the inhaler device, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. It will give you more information about indacaterol, a diagram to remind you how to use and clean your inhaler device and a full list of side-effects which you could experience from using it.
  • Follow your doctor's instructions carefully and make sure that you know how to use your inhaler properly. If you are not sure, ask your nurse, doctor or pharmacist to show you.
  • Use the inhaler regularly, once every day. There are two strengths of Onbrez® capsules - 150 mg and 300 mg. Your doctor will tell you which dose is right for you. Just as a reminder - the capsules must not be swallowed. They are to be used with the inhaler device only.
  • Try to use your inhaler at the same time each day, as this will help you to remember to use it regularly. If you ever forget to use the inhaler at your usual time, use it as soon as you remember. However, if you do not remember until the following day, do not 'double up' your next dose to make up for the forgotten one.

Instructions for using the inhaler device

  1. Remove the cap. Hold the base of the inhaler device and tilt the mouthpiece. This opens the inhaler.
  2. Take a capsule from the blister packaging and put it into the capsule chamber of the inhaler. Close the inhaler - you will hear it click.
  3. Hold the inhaler upright and press both side buttons at the same time. You should hear a click as the capsule is pierced. Then release the side buttons.
  4. Breathe out and then put the mouthpiece in your mouth and close your lips firmly around it.
  5. Breathe in and hold your breath for around 5-10 seconds. Then breathe out.
  6. Remove the empty capsule, close the inhaler and then replace the cap.
  • Try to keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can review your condition on a regular basis.
  • Do not smoke. Smoking causes irritation and damage to the lungs and will make your condition worse. Speak with your doctor or practice nurse for further advice if you are having difficulty in stopping smoking.
  • If you find that your symptoms are getting worse, continue to use your inhaler but also contact your doctor or nurse for further advice.
  • If you have diabetes you may need to check your blood glucose more frequently, as the inhaler could affect the levels of sugar in your blood. Your doctor will advise you about this.

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the most common ones associated with indacaterol. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your inhaler device. The unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.

Common indacaterol side-effects (these affect less than 1 in 10 people)
What can I do if I experience this?
HeadacheAsk your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller
Respiratory infections, cough, sore throat and cold-like symptomsAsk your pharmacist to recommend a suitable remedy
Muscle achesAsk your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller
Feeling dizzyDo not drive or use tools or machines while affected
Swollen feet and ankles (fluid retention), chest painPlease speak with your doctor for advice

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to the inhaler, please speak with your doctor or pharmacist for further advice.

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.

If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with your other medicines.

Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.

If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.

This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.

Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.

If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.

Further reading & references

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.

Original Author:
Helen Allen
Current Version:
Peer Reviewer:
Dr Helen Huins
Document ID:
13933 (v2)
Last Checked:
Next Review:
The Information Standard - certified member

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