albuterol, Ventolin, Proventil, Proventil-HFA, AccuNeb, Vospire, ProAir

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GENERIC NAME: albuterol

BRAND NAMES: Ventolin, Proventil, Proventil-HFA, AccuNeb, Vospire, ProAir

DRUG CLASS: Albuterol dilates the airways of the lung and is used for treating asthma and other conditions of the lung. Asthma is a breathing problem due to widespread narrowing of the airways (bronchial tubes). Airways are the breathing passages that allow air to move in and out of the lungs. These airways can be narrowed due to the accumulation of mucus, spasm of the muscles that surround these airways (bronchospasm), or swelling of the lining of the airways. Airway narrowing leads to shortness of breath, wheezing, cough, and congestion. Albuterol dilates bronchial airways by relaxing the muscles that surround the airways. Albuterol also can be helpful in patients with emphysema and chronic bronchitis when symptoms are partially related to spasm of the airways' muscles. The FDA approved albuterol in May 1982.



PREPARATIONS: Inhalation aerosol: 80 and 200 inhalations; Inhalation solution: 0.63, 1.25, and 2.5 mg/3 ml, also 5 mg/ml; Syrup: 2 mg/5 ml; Tablets: 2, 4, and 8 mg

STORAGE: Albuterol should be stored at room temperature, 59-86 F (15-30 C). The canister should be kept away from heat or flame and not punctured.

PRESCRIBED FOR: Albuterol is used for relief and prevention of airway obstruction (bronchospasm) in patients with asthma or exercise-induced asthma. Albuterol is also used for treating patients with emphysema or chronic bronchitis when their symptoms are related to reversible airway obstruction. The inhaled form of albuterol starts working within 15 minutes and can last up to 6 hours.

DOSING: The usual dose for prevention of bronchospasm is 1-2 inhalations every 4-6 hours by aerosol. The dose for exercise induced bronchospasm is 2 inhalations 15 minutes prior to exercise. The usual nebulizer dose is 0.63 mg, 1.25 mg or 2.5 mg 3-4 times a day. The recommended dosing for tablets or syrup is 2 or 4 mg given 3 or 4 times daily and the dose of extended release tablets is 4 or 8 mg every 12 hours.

DRUG INTERACTIONS: Tricyclic antidepressants [for example, amitriptyline (Elavil, Endep), monoamine oxidase inhibitors (for example, tranylcypromine) should not be combined with albuterol because of their additive effects on the vascular system (increased blood pressure, heart rate, etc.). A period of two weeks should elapse between treatment with albuterol and tricyclic antidepressants or monoamine oxidase inhibitors.

Use of albuterol with other stimulant medications is discouraged because of their combined effects on heart rate, blood pressure, and the potential for causing chest pain in patients with underlying coronary heart disease.

Beta-blockers [for example, propranolol (Inderal, Inderal LA) block the effect of albuterol and may induce bronchospasm in asthmatics. Albuterol may cause hypokalemia (low potassium). Therefore, combining albuterol with loop diuretics [for example, furosemide (Lasix)] may increase the likelihood of hypokalemia.

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