HandiHaler/Spiriva capsules breaking?

Good morning campers.

The capsules breaking and they do not vibrate, it's happened a few times to me now and most concerning when it happens A full "post mortem" follows the event to make sure that the powder has actually been inhaled. I tripped over this problem in an old thread too so I know it happens to others.

Through a little trial and error I have discovered a way to avoid this. When piercing the capsule, with the two pins attached to the green button. Press in the green button as slowly as you can and then release normally.

I think the cause of this problem is that the two pins must go a little blunt through use.

11 Replies

  • Hi 2greys. I have been using spiriva for about 13 years and this happens when the handihaler needs replacing. When I do my repeat prescription I ask my surgery to supply the drug with the handihaler. They come in a box together. Hope that helps.

  • My GP will only prescribe the capsules now. He is obviously going by the instructions in the leaflet to replace the device once a year. I have 3 devices but they all suffer from the same problem. But happy enough to carry on as is, now that I've sussed out how to do it.

  • guess I am lucky with my surgery although I probably don't need to ask more than once each year. I have a bag full of devices and rotate them. You're right about squeezing them gently but now and then they give up totally.

  • Have to agree with you on that one. I've got a few, and they're all the same. I was quite amused to read your post as it rang a few bells. 😃😃😃

  • Hi 2greys

    Yup !! I think you have solved the problem...It always happens to me when l have had my dispenser for a while....I ask the Gp or Practice Nurse for a new kit on my next prescription and it solves the problem.

    Take care if you handle broken capsules...Wash your hands as l think it can be very irritating to your eyes.


  • Yes it does happen ,I'm lucky to have a new inhaler with each new prescription,

  • How is such a common problem simply ignored as if it didn't exist? I was just given it with zero instructions, other than the leaflet which does not mention problems with what looks like a design issue.

    This is not in the patients best interest. I thought we were told to avoid getting stressed. The first time it happened to me I flipped out, worried about all sorts of probs of : Did it work? Do I take another? What if I overdose? What if............ It spoilt my whole day until I got home from work and spent hours looking stuff up on the internet. Obsessed or what and this on top of having been recently diagnosed. I needed that like a hole in the head!

    Now I do sympathise that GP's only have a limited time for each patient but some proper instruction/information as a separate fact sheet would not go amiss, by proper I mean, written in "Ordinary Conversational English" not "Med Speak". Look at it another way for the cost of a sheet of paper they can avoid the cost of antidepressants both to the NHS (financially) & patient (emotionally).

    I really think that the people who make the NHS policies concerning chronic illnesses should have to include a sufferer of the condition that, the policy is being made for. Healthy people don't have a clue how we feel, it is actually very complex so no surprise. It's almost impossible for words to convey truly what you feel inside and then for those words to be deciphered back into feelings by another, but not impossible for a kindred soul. We need a voice on the panels that set the policies that affect us.

    Rant over, (all about a bit of paper)

  • I used to have the same problem...switched over to Spiriva Respimat which I find very simples to use and trouble-free!

  • Hi I couldn't stand all the hassle with Spiriva so asked my asthma nurse if it came in a different format. It does. It also comes in a normal inhaler form so I use that now. x

  • Hi 2greys. I think you're right about pressing the button slowly. Also, you probably know this anyway, but you need to be careful only to fold back the foil far enough to uncover one capsule at a time, otherwise the green casing of the next capsule goes brittle. I must admit I haven't had any problems with mine - just luck I suppose! - and it's been great for my lung function. Let us know if you decide to try the respimat, how you get on.

  • Wow I get a new handihaler with every prescription, so a new one every month. I could mail you a few that are only a month old as I find that amazing that you are to reuse it for a year. I don't think I can even get just the capsules as they all come in one box.

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