Wheezing is a whistling sound that occurs during breathing, usually during expiration (breathing air out of the lungs) through narrowed airways. Inflammation of the airways, bronchospasm (tightening of the muscles around the bronchial tubes), and hypersensitivity (reactivity to triggers such as allergens, irritants, or infections) all play a role in the development of wheezing. Any conditions or diseases that can constrict the airways can lead to wheezing. Wheezing can be accompanied by other symptoms such as coughing and shortness of breath. Wheezing may also occur in anaphylaxis, a severe and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.
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Other Causes of Wheezing
- Bacterial Infection
- Foreign Object in Airways
- Virus Infection
Examples of Medications for Wheezing
- albuterol (Accuneb, Ventolin & Proventil [all discontinued])
- budesonide (oral inhalation, Pulmicort, Pulmicort Flexhaler)
- cromolyn, Nasalcrom, Gastrocrom (Intal, Opticrom are discontinued)
- fluticasone disk inhaler - oral, Flovent Rotadisk
- fluticasone propionate oral inhaler (Flovent)
- ipratropium bromide inhaler (Atrovent)
- ipratropium solution - inhalation, Atrovent
- montelukast, Singulair
- omalizumab, Xolair
- terbutaline, Brethine, Bricanyl, and Brethaire are no longer available in the U.S.
- tiotropium capsule - inhalation