- Side Effects
- Drug Interactions
- Pregnancy & Breastfeeding
- What Else to Know
Generic Name: albuterol sulphate
Brand Names: Ventolin, Proventil, Accuneb (discontinued)
Drug Class: Beta2 Agonists
What is albuterol, and what is it used for?
Asthma is a breathing problem due to the narrowing of the airways (bronchial tubes) that allow air to move in and out of the lungs. These airways can be narrowed due to the accumulation of mucus, spasms 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 sulphate dilates the airways of the lung 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 sulphate solution in January 1987.
What are the side effects of albuterol?
Common side effects include:
- Migraine headaches
- Non-migraine headaches
- stomach upset
- flu-like symptoms
- cold symptoms
- ear infections (otitis media)
Other side effects include:
- allergic reactions (rash, hives, itching)
- increased sputum
- shortness of breath
Possible serious side effects include:
What is the dosage for albuterol?
- A jet nebulizer connected to an air compressor equipped with a mouthpiece or face mask is used to administer albuterol sulphate solution.
- The recommended starting dose for patients 2 to 12 years of age is 0.63, 1.25, or 2.5 mg given by nebulization 3 or 4 times daily, as needed. More frequent administration is not recommended.
- Children 6 to 12 years of age with more severe asthma may achieve a better initial response with the 1.25 or 2.5 mg dose.
- The entire contents of one vial should be placed in the nebulizer and the flow rate should be adjusted to deliver albuterol sulphate over 5 to 15 minutes.
Which drugs interact with albuterol?
- Tricyclic antidepressants, for example, amitriptyline (Elavil, Endep), and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), for example, tranylcypromine, should not be combined with albuterol sulfate 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 sulphate and tricyclic antidepressants or monoamine oxidase inhibitors.
- Use of albuterol sulphate 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 sulphate and may induce bronchospasm in asthmatics.
- Albuterol sulphate may cause hypokalemia (low potassium). Therefore, combining albuterol sulphate with loop diuretics, for example, furosemide (Lasix) may increase the likelihood of hypokalemia.
Is albuterol safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- Albuterol sulphate inhalation solution is used for treating children.
- There are no adequate studies of albuterol sulphate use during pregnancy. Some reports indicate that albuterol sulphate may cause congenital defects when used during pregnancy.
- It's not known whether albuterol sulphate is excreted in breast milk.
What else should I know about albuterol?
What preparations of albuterol are available?
- Inhalation Solution: 0.63, 1.25, and 2.5 mg/3 ml; 2.5 mg/0.5 ml.
How should I keep albuterol stored?
- Albuterol sulphate should be stored between 2 C and 25 C (36 F and 77 F) and protected from light and excessive heat.
Albuterol is a drug used for the prevention and relief of bronchospasm in individuals with asthma, exercise-induced asthma, emphysema, or chronic bronchitis. Drug interactions include tricyclic antidepressants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), and beta blockers. Side effects include tremors, headaches, palpitations, and more. Consult your doctor if pregnant or breastfeeding.
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Related Disease Conditions
Bronchitis is inflammation of the airways in the lung. Acute bronchitis is short in duration (10-20 days) in comparison with chronic bronchitis, which lasts for months to years. Causes of acute bronchitis include viruses and bacteria, which means it can be contagious. Acute bronchitis caused by environmental factors such as pollution or cigarette smoke is not contagious. Common symptoms for acute bronchitis include nasal congestion, cough, headache, sore throat, muscle aches, and fatigue. Acute bronchitis in children also my include runny nose, fever, and chest pain. Treatment for acute bronchitis are OTC pain relievers, cough suppressants (although not recommended in children), and rest. Infrequently antibiotics may be prescribed to treat acute bronchitis.
Emphysema is a COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) that often occurs with other obstructive pulmonary problems and chronic bronchitis. Causes of emphysema include chronic cigarette smoking, exposure to secondhand smoke, air pollution, and in the underdeveloped parts of the world. Symptoms of emphysema include chronic cough, chest discomfort, breathlessness, and wheezing. Treatments include medication and lifestyle changes.
COPD vs. Asthma (Differences and Similarities)
COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and asthma both have common symptoms like coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and a tight feeling in the chest. COPD is caused by tobacco smoking, while asthma is caused by your inherited genetic makeup and their interactions with the environment. Risk factors for asthma are obesity, exposure to cigarette smoke (even secondhand smoke), and personal history of hay fever. There is no cure for either disease, but symptoms can be managed with medication. A person with asthma has a better prognosis and life expectancy than someone with COPD.
COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a lung condition caused by smoking tobacco, exposure to secondhand smoke, and/or air pollutants. Conditions that accompany COPD include chronic bronchitis, chronic cough, and emphysema. Symptoms of COPD include shortness of breath, wheezing, and chronic cough. Treatment of COPD includes GOLD guidelines, smoking cessation, medications, and surgery. The life expectancy of a person with COPD depends on the stage of the disease.
Neutropenia is a marked decrease in the number of neutrophils, neutrophils being a type of white blood cell (specifically a form of granulocyte) filled with neutrally-staining granules, tiny sacs of enzymes that help the cell to kill and digest microorganisms it has engulfed by phagocytosis. Signs and symptoms of neutropenia include gum pain and swelling, skin abscesses, recurrent ear and sinus infections, sore mouth, low-grad fever, pneumonia-like symptoms, and pain and irritation around the rectal area. Neutropenia has numerous causes, for example, infections (HIV, TB, mono); medications (chemotherapy); vitamin deficiencies (anemia); bone marrow diseases (leukemias), radiation therapy, autoimmune destruction of neutrophils, and hypersplenism. Treatment of neutropenia depends upon the cause and the health of the patient.
Chronic bronchitis is a cough that occurs daily with production of sputum that lasts for at least 3 months, 2 years in a row. Causes of chronic bronchitis include cigarette smoking, inhaled irritants, and underlying disease processes (such as asthma, or congestive heart failure). Symptoms include cough, shortness of breath, and wheezing. Treatments include bronchodilators and steroids. Complications of chronic bronchitis include COPD and emphysema.
Asthma is a condition in which hyperreactive airways constrict and result in symptoms like wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath. Causes of asthma include genetics, environmental factors, personal history of allergies, and other factors. Asthma is diagnosed by a physician based on a patient's family history and results from lung function tests and other exams. Inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) and long-acting bronchodilators (LABAs) are used in the treatment of asthma. Generally, the prognosis for a patient with asthma is good. Exposure to allergens found on farms may protect against asthma symptoms.
Asthma Over-the-Counter Treatment
Patients who have infrequent, mild bouts of asthma attacks may use over-the-counter (OTC) medications to treat their asthma symptoms. OTC asthma medicines are limited to epinephrine and ephedrine. These OTC drugs are best used with the guidance of a physician, as there may be side effects and the drugs may not be very effective.
How Can I Treat My Child's Asthma at Home?
Treatment of a child's asthma involves following an action plan developed in consultation with your child's pediatrician. Severe asthmatic attacks require immediate medical attention and treatment at the hospital.
COPD vs. Emphysema
COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is the term doctors and other healthcare professionals use to describe a group of serious, progressive (worsens over time), chronic lung diseases that include emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and sometimes asthma. The number one cause of COPD or emphysema, is smoking, and smoking is the third leading cause of death in the US.
There are two types of asthma medications: long-term control with anti-inflammatory drugs and quick relief from bronchodilators. Asthma medicines may be inhaled using a metered-dose inhaler or nebulizer or they may be taken orally. People with high blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid disease, or heart disease shouldn't take OTC asthma drugs like Primatene Mist and Bronkaid.
Can Asthma Damage Your Lungs?
Asthma inflames the inner lining of the respiratory tubes and tightens the smooth muscles surrounding the airways, and can cause irreversible damage to your lungs if the condition is not controlled well.
What Is Bronchiectasis?
Bronchiectasis has three types: cylindrical bronchiectasis, saccular or varicose bronchiectasis, and cystic bronchiectasis. Causes of bronchiectasis include infection, environmental exposure, drug or alcohol abuse, and alpha-1 antitrypsin (congenital). Symptoms of bronchiectasis include shortness of breath, fatigue, chronic cough, bloody sputum, and wheezing. Treatment for bronchiectasis includes antibiotics and possibly surgery.
Adult-onset asthma is asthma that is diagnosed in people over 20 years of age. Symptoms include wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. Treatment may involve anti-inflammatory medications or bronchodilators.
Asthma in Children
Asthma in children manifests with symptoms such as coughing and wheezing. Rates of asthma in children are increasing. Asthma in children is usually diagnosed based on the description of symptoms. Lung function tests may also be used. A variety of medications are used for the treatment of childhood asthma.
What are the First Symptoms of Emphysema?
Emphysema is a chronic lung disease that makes breathing difficult. Learn about the early warning signs of emphysema, emphysema symptoms, what causes it, how doctors diagnose it, and your options for treatment.
What Is Asthma? 19 Complex Facts
There are many unusual symptoms of asthma, including sighing, difficulty sleeping, anxiety, chronic cough, recurrent walking pneumonia, and rapid breathing. These symptoms may vary from individual to individual. These asthma complexities make it difficult to accurately diagnose and treat asthma.
Can You Have Emphysema Without COPD?
Emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) both refer to a group of long-standing lung conditions that can make breathing difficult. What is the difference between emphysema and COPD?
Can Asthma Go Away on Its Own?
Asthma is a long-term condition for many people, particularly if it first develops when you're an adult. In children, it sometimes goes away or improves during the teenage years, but can come back later in life.
What Causes Subcutaneous Emphysema?
Subcutaneous emphysema is often brought on by injuries, infections, treatments, and surgery. Check out the center below for more medical references on emphysema, including multimedia (slideshows, images, and quizzes), related disease conditions, treatment and diagnosis, medications, and prevention or wellness.
Emphysema, Chronic Bronchitis, and Colds
If you have a COPD such as emphysema, avoiding chronic bronchitis and colds is important to avoid a more severe respiratory infection such as pneumonia. Avoiding cigarette smoking, practice good hygeine, stay away from crowds, and alerting your healthcare provider if you have a sinus infection or cold or cough that becomes worse. Treatment options depend upon the severity of the emphysema, bronchitis, or cold combination.
How Do You Know if You Have Asthma or Not?
Your doctor may diagnose you with asthma based upon your signs and symptoms and after performing a physical exam and certain tests.
Occupational asthma is a type of asthma caused by exposure to a substance in the workplace. Symptoms and signs include wheezing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. The usual treatment for occupational asthma involves removal from exposure and the use of bronchodilators and inhaled anti-inflammatory medicines.
What 5 Things Signal an Asthma Attack?
Understand the five symptoms of an asthma attack to better get the treatment you need during an episode.
What Is an Inhaler Used For?
An inhaler is most commonly used by people with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD) such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis. The medication is mostly in the form of a mist or spray that a person breathes in. Because inhalers can provide the medicine directly to the lungs, they are an apt choice to treat asthma.
How Does Asthma Start?
Though asthma symptoms may come on suddenly without any prior noticeable change, sometimes, an asthma attack typically starts with a few early warning signs.
Treatment & Diagnosis
- Shortness of Breath (Dyspnea)
- Cystic Fibrosis
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- Exercise-Induced Asthma
- Doctor: Checklist to Take To Your Doctor's Appointment
- Asthma, Controlling Your
- Asthma Control: Know Your Score
- Asthma Update -- Paul Enright, MD. -- 11/25/02
- Asthma and Allergies and Your Child
- Asthma: Managing Exercise-Induced Asthma
- Occupational Asthma
- Asthma FAQs
- COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) FAQs
- Drugs: Buying Prescription Drugs Online Safely
- Drugs: The Most Common Medication Errors
- Medication Disposal
- Dangers of Mixing Medications
- Emphysema from Crack Cocaine?
- Exercise Preventing Asthma?
- Asthma in Women, Asthma in Pregnancy
- Prescriptions: Complying with the Doctor's Orders
- Asthma Rates Increasing
- How To Reduce Your Medication Costs
- Can Patients With Emphysema Benefit From Lung Volume Reduction Surgery?
- Pharmacy Visit, How To Get The Most Out of Your Visit
- Indications for Drugs: Approved vs. Non-approved
- Can Asthma Medication Hide Churg-Strauss Syndrome?
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- Can Asthma Go Away and Come Back?
- What Are the Side Effects of Asthma Inhalers?
- Does Altitude Affect Asthma?
- Best Exercises for Asthma: Yoga, Swimming, Biking, and Walking
- Can Asthma Cause a Heart Attack?
- What Causes Asthma?
- Emphysema Treatment
- Emphysema Causes and Risk Factors
- Emphysema Symptoms
- Generic Drugs, Are They as Good as Brand-Names?
Medications & Supplements
- ipratropium/albuterol (salbutamol) solution - inhalation, DuoNeb
- ipratropium/albuterol (salbutamol) inhaler - oral, Combivent
- albuterol (salbutamol) pre-mixed solution - inhalation, Proventil, Ventolin
- albuterol (salbutamol) solution - inhalation, Proventil, Ventolin
- albuterol (salbutamol) inhaler - oral, Proventil, Ventolin
- SALBUTAMOL (ALBUTEROL)-ORAL DISK INHALER
- Drugs: Questions to Ask Your Doctor or Pharmacist about Your Drugs
- Bronchodilators (Drug Class)
- Drug Interactions
- What Are the Benefits of An Aerosol Treatment?
- terbutaline (Brethine)
- albuterol and ipratropium inhaler (Combivent Respimat)
- salmeterol (Serevent)
- Side Effects of Ventolin (albuterol)
- budesonide nasal inhaler (Rhinocort Allergy, Rhinocort Aqua)
- albuterol pediatric pre-mixed solution - inhalation, AccuNeb
- Combivent Respimat (albuterol and ipratropium) Side Effects, Warnings, and Drug Interactions
- levalbuterol pre-mixed solution - inhalation, Xopenex
- ProAir Digihaler (albuterol sulfate)
- Types of Asthma Medications
- How Do You Use Inhalers and Nebulizers?
- ProAir Respiclick (albuterol sulfate)
- fluticasone hfa inhaler - oral
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
FDA Prescribing Information