Oxitropium (Oxivent – Boehringer) has recently been introduced as a metered dose inhaler for regular use in chronic stable asthma and chronic obstructive bronchitis. Like ipratropium (Atrovent) which we have previously reviewed,1 it blocks the muscarinic cholinergic receptors which mediate smooth muscle contraction in the airways. The manufacturer claims that regular use of oxitropium (200μg twice or three times daily) reduces the incidence of symptoms, including the need for night-time bronchodilators, and improves lung function in some patients; it is not intended for immediate symptom relief. Promotion describes oxitropium as ‘breaking the mould’ and offering ‘a step forward for those not simply asthmatic’. Is it just another ipratropium?
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