What is Spiriva? Spiriva is used to control and prevent symptoms (such as wheezing, shortness of breath) caused by ongoing lung disease (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease-COPD which includes bronchitis and emphysema). It works by relaxing the muscles around the airways so that they open up and you can breathe more easily. Spiriva belongs to a class of drugs known as anticholinergics. Controlling symptoms of breathing problems can decrease time lost from work or school.