- What is albuterol, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What are the uses for albuterol?
- What are the side effects of albuterol?
- What is the dosage for albuterol?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with albuterol?
- Is albuterol safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about albuterol?
What is albuterol, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- Albuterol sulphate 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 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, 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 sulphate 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 sulphate solution in January 1987.
What are the uses for albuterol?
- Albuterol sulphate inhalation solution is used for the treatment of bronchospasm in patients 2 to 12 years of age with asthma (reversible obstructive airway disease).
What brand names are available for albuterol?
Ventolin, Proventil, Accuneb (discontinued)
Is albuterol available as a generic drug?
Do I need a prescription for albuterol?
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 or supplements 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.
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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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Exercise-induced asthma is asthma triggered by vigorous exercise. Symptoms include coughing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, wheezing, and fatigue while exercising. Preventing exercise-induced asthma attacks involves using inhaled medicines before exercising, performing warm-up exercises and cooling down afterward, avoiding exercising outdoors when pollen counts are high, restricting exercise when you have a viral infection, and wearing a mask over your nose and mouth when exercising in cold weather.
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.
Treatment & Diagnosis
- Shortness of Breath (Dyspnea)
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
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