Umeclidinium is prescribed to help ease the symptoms of cough, wheeze and breathlessness in adults with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Make sure you know how to use the inhaler device properly. Ask your nurse, doctor or pharmacist to show you, if you are unsure.
Use the inhaler once every day.
About umeclidinium inhaler
|Type of medicine||An antimuscarinic bronchodilator|
|Used for||Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)|
|Also called||Incruse Ellipta®; also|
Anoro Ellipta® (in combination with vilanterol); Trelegy® (in combination with vilanterol and fluticasone)
|Available as||An inhaler device|
Umeclidinium belongs to the group of medicines known as antimuscarinic bronchodilators. It is given to improve the air flow to your lungs. It works by opening up the air passages in your lungs so that air can flow into your lungs more freely.
Umeclidinium can be helpful in relieving symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In this condition, the air flow to the lungs is restricted and this causes symptoms such as cough, wheeze and breathlessness. You will have been prescribed umeclidinium to help reduce these symptoms. It is a long-acting inhaler, which means that its effects last for 24 hours, so you only need to use it once each day. It is not a rescue treatment for sudden breathlessness.
Umeclidinium is available in an inhaler on its own (Incruse® Ellipta), or in combination with vilanterol (Anoro®), or vilanterol and fluticasone (Trelegy®). For information on combination products, please refer to the manufacturer's leaflet provided with your medicine.
Before using umeclidinium
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 umeclidinium it is important that your doctor knows:
- If you have problems with your prostate gland, or if you have any difficulty passing urine.
- If you have an eye condition called glaucoma.
- If you have a heart condition, or an unusual heart rhythm.
- If you have any problem with the way your liver works.
- If you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- If you are taking any other medicines or using any other inhalers. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, as well as herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
How to use umeclidinium (Incruse Ellipta)
- Before you start the treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. It will give you more information about umeclidinium, diagrams to remind you how to use the inhaler device, and a full list of side-effects which you may experience.
- Follow your doctor's instructions carefully and make sure you know how to use the inhaler device properly. If you are not sure what to do, please ask your nurse, doctor or pharmacist to show you.
- Use the inhaler device once each day. Open the inhaler by sliding down the mouthpiece cover until you hear a 'click'. Breathe out (away from the inhaler) and then close your lips around the inhaler mouthpiece. Breathe in slowly and hold this breath for 3-4 seconds (take care not to cover the air vents with your fingers as you do this). Remove the inhaler from your mouth and breathe out again, slowly. Close the inhaler cover. The inhaler contains 30 doses, and you will see the number on the counter reduce by one each time you use the inhaler.
- Try to use the inhaler at the same time each day, as this will help you to remember to use it regularly. If you do forget at your usual time, use it as soon as you remember. If you do not remember until the following day, leave out the missed dose - do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Treatment with umeclidinium is usually long-term so you should continue to use it unless you are advised otherwise by your doctor. If you are currently using any other inhalers or nebulisers to help your breathing, please discuss with your doctor if there are any of these that you should no longer use. This is because you should not use any other antimuscarinic bronchodilator as well as umeclidinium.
- Try to keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can review your condition on a regular basis.
- If you find that your symptoms are becoming worse or that you need to use a reliever inhaler more regularly, contact your doctor or nurse for advice straightaway.
- COPD is usually caused by smoking, so the most important treatment is to stop smoking. 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.
- People with COPD who exercise regularly tend to have improved breathing and a better quality of life. If you are not used to exercise, a daily walk is a good start if you are able to do this. Speak with your doctor about what level of activity will help your breathing and keep you as fit as possible.
- If you are overweight, it may help your breathing if you try to lose weight. This is because being overweight means that you have to work much harder to breathe in to inflate your lungs. A dietician will be able to give you advice on how to eat a healthy diet and lose weight.
- Remember to arrange to have your yearly 'flu jabs' each autumn. This will help protect you against influenza and any chest infections that develop due to it.
Can umeclidinium cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains the most common ones associated with umeclidinium. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your medicine. 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 umeclidinium side-effects (these affect less than 1 in 10 people)||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Headache||Drink plenty of water and ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller. If the headaches continue, let your doctor know|
|Constipation||Drink plenty of water and try to eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables|
|Dry mouth||Try chewing sugar-free gum or sucking sugar-free sweets|
|Cough, nose and throat irritation or infection, a fast heartbeat, urine infection||If any become troublesome, speak with your doctor|
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.
How to store umeclidinium
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
- Once opened, discard the desiccant sachet and keep the Incruse® Ellipta inhaler in its tray in order to protect it from moisture.
- Discard the Incruse® Ellipta inhaler six weeks after first opening the tray. It may help to write the date you opened the tray on to the pharmacy label.
Important information about all medicines
Never use more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have had 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 buy any medicines check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with your other medicines.
If you are having an operation or any 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 and references
Manufacturer's PIL, Incruse® Ellipta 55 micrograms inhalation powder, pre-dispensed; GlaxoSmithKline UK, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated June 2018.
British National Formulary, 75th Edition (Mar 2018); British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London.