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Albuterol (Proventil, Ventolin) Uses, Side Effects & Dosage

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?

Yes

Do I need a prescription for albuterol?

Yes

What are the side effects of albuterol?

Common side effects include:

Other side effects include:

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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