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
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
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:
- Non-migraine headaches
- stomach upset
- flu-like symptoms
- cold symptoms
- ear infections (otitis media)
Other side effects include:
allergic reactions (rash,
- increased sputum
- shortness of breath
Possible serious side effects include:
- bronchospasm (worsening of
- serious allergic reactions (anaphylaxis)
- worsening of
- low potassium
- abnormal heart rhythm (palpitations)
- fast heart rate
- elevated blood pressure
- chest pain
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
- 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,
(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.
are no adequate studies of albuterol sulphate use during pregnancy. Some reports
indicate that albuterol sulphate may cause
congenital defects when used during
- 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.