problems with spiriva capsules?

recently i have had a problem with the spiriva capsules being empty,during the last few months i had to obtain extra issues.last month no fewer than 10 of the 30 issued were empty! last night i had 12 fail on me before one worked,is this a problem others have come across if so the quality control at the facility that produces them needs to be examined otherwise it is costing the nhs a lot of money,thankfully as a pensioner i do not have to pay but i still pay my taxes!

49 Replies

  • "12 fail on me before one worked" - do you mean that they didn't "rattle" or did you open them to check? There is only a very small amount of white powder in each capsule and they often don't rattle (for me).

    If you actually took 12 doses then don't worry - the overdose ceiling is way higher than that!

    Sometimes mine rattle, other times they don't - I just check that the holes are in the capsule and that it's sealed in the foil until moments before use (if you accidently pull the foil too far and expose the next capsule then destroy it as exposure to the atmosphere ruins it).

    There seem to be a lot of comments on the Internet about them being empty but in most cases it turns out that people think they are empty because they didn't rattle.

    Hope it helps

  • thanks to all for their input,i checked each capsule after trying them,no sign of any white powder which is what i expected to see.i have kept the empty ones and will submit them to the pharmacy when i run out.very best to all.

  • That's interesting - I have a few "spares" (from the days when my memory doesn't catch up with my body!) so I'm going to open a few and see ... will let you know the outcome. Many thanks

  • i doubt that your pharmacy will be interested. nothing will come of it. i would suspect that the nhs , doctors and the pharmacy companies were dazzled by the supplier presentation of their products.

  • you must wonder how many people world wide take this medication when in fact they are not receiving anything.

  • Yes, i was first aware because of no rattle, but i also took the capsule and inspected it very carefully and could not see one trace of powder. also i did not get the feeling of powder in the back of my throat (which always happens with full capsule).

  • this is a common problem with this product. the producer of spiriva must review all sites of their product and viewed comments. yet i have not seen any comments by the company. i think it is a case of them thinking that the problems will go away. no point in contacting the needs an investigation by the medical regulators .

  • Me too, you can't tell by shaking them but you can tell when you inhale whether it's full or empty. It's a very good medication but I've found that MANY elderly people can't use the inhaler because it's not easy for them to get that BIG inhalation. A new design of inhaler, I think, would be of great benefit to COPDers

  • I have complained about this countless times over the past few years. Nearly had words with the chemist as I went back to say I was running low. In the end I spoke to the nurse I see and she said anymore problems just to ring her she gave me an extra prescription to make up.

  • Ask for the new Spiriva Respimat Inhaler. It does the same job.

  • Don't think I would know if it was empty !

  • try a sample of capsules open them before use.

  • Hi I have been using this drug method for quite some years and only come across a couple of duds i.e one did not peirce because it was mishapen, it did not rattle either. And I have had the odd empty one with no sign of white powder. If you have 12 duds I would go and discuss with the pharmicist who dispensed as it could be a faulty batch or your misunderstanding.Agree with others the white powder is only a minute amount in each capsule.

  • if it is a faulty batch it is world wide. what misunderstanding could there be if a capsule is empty.

  • Within a number of COPD groups this subject as been brought up. I know from listening to others that a few people have experienced duds. Whilst in hospital 2 of the 6 people in my bay actually showed the respiratory nurses the problem and capsules were found to be empty. From what I understand this started to happen just before Christmas. The pharmacist took details but what the outcome was I do not know.

  • the pharmacy will hit a brick wall. the manufacturer is not prepared to accept that there is a problem. it is the fault of the user.

  • That happened to me with Spiriva so the nurse gave me the inhalator type instead. That might be an option for you.

  • Try and get QVAR and Anoro Ellipta. I was given that instead of Spiriva and find it's much better.

  • Our spriva.has been changed to a different and cheaper version , they work just the same really .

  • Mine's been changed to Braltus and capsules are clear so you can see and check afterwards that you've inhaled all the powder. I think it's better like this AND could explain why my chest has been so bad on random days with no 'apparent' reason.

  • I have heard from several people that they have a problem with empty spiriva capsules. I order mine online. Never had a problem. MUCH cheaper than here in the states.

  • I have had problems with spiriva capsules also, I get very cranky because they cost me 49.00 a month

  • Hi Wilki-e

    Yes I had the same problem and therefore I changed over to Spiriva Respimat inhaler which is so much easier to use, so you might like to ask your doctor to make this change for you.

  • I too have this problem occasionally,the quality control appears to be very poor.

  • How does everyone know the capsules are empty? If you open them after using them you would expect them to be empty,

  • Not difficult, open them before use.

  • But why would you waste capsules by opening them? I have never heard of anyone opening capsules when used in an inhaler or taking them orally before.

  • [edited]

  • A lot of medications that are taken orally also come in capsules and if you are suspecting your Spiriva capsules are empty it would stand to reason other medications that come in capsules are perhaps also empty. I've just never heard of people taking them apart to see if there is anything in them. If you want to be a big spender would you not have to open all of the capsules as just because one had medication or one was empty doesn't mean the rest of the batch will also be full or empty.

  • I've been on Spiriva for two years & have never had an empty capsule. I've never opened one, but as you inhale you can detect the powder. Several of my drugs come in capsules. It would never occur to me to check if they're empty.

  • Me either and am sure regulators would fine drug manufacturers if they found that to be the case.

  • The MHRA enforces the regulations very strictly. If something gets repeated often enough on the internet, people believe it.

  • how do you know that you have never had a empty capsule. live dangerously and open a sample capsule before use.

  • yes you have my sympathy on this matter happens to me on a regular basis complained to my doctors about this and my chemist it needs to be sorted out in my opinion

  • see my note today.

  • I too have had this happen, but always order more well in advance.

  • Unless you open them b4 use how would you tell if they were empty ? shine a very powerful torch through one , shake it , maybe they could be made from clear material.

    I have had the odd one that has disintegrated , with the result as if you were sucking,. down a tube tunnel. What happens to bit out of the hole ? I used a capsule took it out and swallowed it thinking it was my blood pressure tablet .

  • how about opening a couple before use.

  • no way to know if it is empty! by opening then you have wasted a dose!

  • by opening a sample capsule before use should not be a big issue.

  • YES! i also have some spiriva packs that were empty. i called my pharmacist and told him. he seemed very surprised!!! i would say one out of 15 would be empty!! i am in Canada.

  • i conclude that this is a wold wide problem.

  • I also take this medicine and have wondered at times if there's anything in there. I have opened capsules only after I have used them and found no residue of any kind. It's a shame for what they charge for this. I can't understand why they haven't come out with a generic for this.

  • how about opening a couple before use.

  • I live in the U.S. and Spiriva cost a small fortune. I am on Medicare. I also had problems with the vials being empty, too; maybe not as much as you, but for the cost, it was ridiculous. I now use as my asthma/copd meds would be about $1200 a month in the U.S. And at "allday" it's maybe $100 tops. I switched over to the inhaler form of Spiriva. It's two puffs and you might ask if that's available in the UK.

  • the capsules is a world wide problem. if the company had any sort of quality control they would know this by the amount of powder left over after production .

  • Agree seems lots of them are empty

  • I've mentioned to the pharmacist at Walgreen's that I have found empty capsules in my Spiriva prescription. I felt that they were empty because the literature that comes with the medication said that if you don't hear the rattle, it's not good. The pharmacist said she had lots of complaints of the same thing from others. She said to notify the manufacturer, with the lot #, which is printed on the box, and they may replace those that are defective. I haven't tried that yet.

  • in my opinion, i think the pharmacy should contact the drug manufacturer! my pharmacy said the same thing to me!!

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