Health Guide
Drug Guide

Albuterol (Inhalation route)

Pronunciation:

al-BUE-ter-ol

Brand Names:

Dosage Forms:

Classifications:

Therapeutic

Bronchodilator

Pharmacologic

Sympathomimetic

Uses of This Medicine:

Albuterol is used to treat or prevent bronchospasm in patients with asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, and other lung diseases. This medicine is also used to prevent wheezing caused by exercise (exercise-induced bronchospasm).

Albuterol belongs to the family of medicines known as adrenergic bronchodilators. Adrenergic bronchodilators are medicines that are breathed in through the mouth to open up the bronchial tubes (air passages) in the lungs. They relieve cough, wheezing, shortness of breath, and troubled breathing by increasing the flow of air through the bronchial tubes.

This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription.

Once a medicine has been approved for marketing for a certain use, experience may show that it is also useful for other medical problems. Although these uses are not included in product labeling, albuterol is used in certain patients with the following medical condition:

Before Using This Medicine:

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:

Allergies

Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.

Children

Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated pediatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of albuterol inhalation aerosol (eg, Proair® HFA) in children 4 years of age and older, albuterol inhalation powder (eg, Proair® Respiclick®) in children 4 years of age and older, and albuterol inhalation solution (eg, Accuneb®) in children 2 years of age and older. However, safety and efficacy have not been established for the albuterol inhalation aerosol and albuterol inhalation powder in children younger than 4 years of age, and albuterol inhalation solution in children younger than 2 years of age.

Older adults

Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of albuterol inhalation aerosol (eg, Proair® HFA) and albuterol inhalation powder (eg, Proair® Respiclick®) in geriatric patients. However, elderly patients are more likely to have age-related heart, kidney, or liver problems, which may require caution and an adjustment in the dose for patients receiving albuterol inhalation aerosol and albuterol inhalation powder.

No information is available on the relationship of age to the effects of albuterol inhalation solution (eg, Accuneb®) in geriatric patients.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy CategoryExplanation
All TrimestersCAnimal studies have shown an adverse effect and there are no adequate studies in pregnant women OR no animal studies have been conducted and there are no adequate studies in pregnant women.

Breast-feeding

There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.

Other medicines

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking this medicine, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

Other interactions

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Other medical problems

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

Proper Use of This Medicine:

Use this medicine only as directed by your doctor. Do not use more of it and do not use it more often than your doctor ordered. Also, do not stop using this medicine or any asthma medicine without telling your doctor. To do so may increase the chance for breathing problems.

The albuterol inhalation solution (eg, Accuneb®) should be used with a jet nebulizer that is connected to an air compressor with good air flow. The inhalation solution and nebulizer will come with patient instructions. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor if you have any questions.

To use the inhalation solution in the nebulizer:

The albuterol inhalation aerosol (eg, Proair® HFA) and albuterol inhalation powder (eg, Proair® Respiclick®) is used with a special inhaler that comes with patient instructions. Read the directions carefully before using this medicine. If you or your child do not understand the directions or are not sure how to use the inhaler, ask your doctor to show you what to do. Also, ask your doctor to check you or your child on a regular basis to make sure you are using it properly.

To use the inhalation aerosol:

To use the inhalation powder:

Dosing

The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

Missed dose

If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.

Storage

Store the canister at room temperature, away from heat and direct light. Do not freeze. Do not keep this medicine inside a car where it could be exposed to extreme heat or cold. Do not poke holes in the canister or throw it into a fire, even if the canister is empty.

Keep the medicine in the foil pouch until you are ready to use it. Store at room temperature, away from heat and direct light. Do not freeze.

Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.

Keep out of the reach of children.

Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.

Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.

Throw away Proair® Respiclick® 13 months after opening the foil pouch, when the dose counter reaches "0", or after the expiration date, whichever comes first.

Precautions While Using This Medicine:

It is very important that your doctor check the progress of you or your child at regular visits. This will allow your doctor to see if the medicine is working properly and to check for any unwanted effects.

This medicine should not be used together with other inhaled medicines that are similar, such as isoproterenol (Isuprel®), levalbuterol (Xopenex™), metaproterenol (Alupent®), pirbuterol (Maxair®), or terbutaline (Brethaire®).

This medicine may cause paradoxical bronchospasm, which means your breathing or wheezing will get worse. Paradoxical bronchospasm may be life-threatening. Check with your doctor right away if you or your child have coughing, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, or wheezing after using this medicine.

Talk to your doctor or get medical help right away if:

You or your child may also be taking an antiinflammatory medicine, such as a steroid (cortisone-like medicine), together with this medicine. Do not stop taking the antiinflammatory medicine, even if your asthma seems better, unless you are told to do so by your doctor.

Albuterol may cause serious types of allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Check with your doctor right away if you or your child develop a skin rash, hives, itching, trouble breathing, trouble swallowing, or any swelling of your hands, face, or mouth while you are using this medicine.

Hypokalemia (low potassium in the blood) may occur while you are using this medicine. Check with your doctor right away if you or your child have more than one of the following symptoms: convulsions, decreased urine, dry mouth, increased thirst, irregular heartbeat, loss of appetite, mood changes, muscle pain or cramps, nausea or vomiting, numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, or lips, shortness of breath, or unusual tiredness or weakness.

Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines for appetite control, asthma, colds, cough, hay fever, or sinus problems, and herbal or vitamin supplements.

Side Effects of This Medicine:

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

More common
Fast, irregular, pounding, or racing heartbeat or pulse
shakiness in the legs, arms, hands, or feet
trembling or shaking of the hands or feet
Less common
Abdominal or stomach pain
bladder pain
bloody or cloudy urine
chest discomfort
chest pain
cough or hoarseness
cough producing mucus
diarrhea
difficult or labored breathing
difficulty with swallowing
dizziness
feeling of warmth
fever or chills
frequent urge to urinate
hives, itching, or skin rash
loss of appetite
lower back or side pain
nausea
puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
redness of the face, neck, arms, and occasionally, upper chest
runny nose
sore throat
swollen, painful, or tender lymph glands in the neck, armpit, or groin
tightness in the chest
unusual tiredness or weakness
weakness
Rare
Hives or welts
large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs
noisy breathing
redness of the skin
swelling of the mouth or throat
trouble breathing
Incidence not known
Agitation
arm, back, or jaw pain
chest tightness or heaviness
confusion
convulsions
decreased urine
dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
drowsiness
dry mouth
extra heartbeats
fainting
flushed, dry skin
fruit-like breath odor
hallucinations
headache
increased hunger
increased thirst
increased urination
irritability
lightheadedness
muscle pain or cramps
nervousness
nightmares
numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, or lips
pounding in the ears
rapid, deep breathing
restlessness
shakiness
slow or fast heartbeat
stomach cramps
sweating
unexplained weight loss
unusual feeling of excitement
vomiting

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common
Body aches or pain
congestion
fever
runny nose
tender, swollen glands in the neck
trouble with swallowing
voice changes
Less common
Difficult, burning, or painful urination
earache
headache, severe and throbbing
muscle or bone pain
pain
redness of the skin
redness or swelling in the ear
redness, swelling, or soreness of the tongue
sneezing
stuffy nose
swelling
tenderness
trouble in holding or releasing urine
trouble sleeping
warmth on the skin
Rare
Sleepiness or unusual drowsiness
Incidence not known
Bad, unusual, or unpleasant (after) taste
change in taste
feeling of constant movement of self or surroundings
gagging
rough, scratchy sound to voice
sensation of spinning
tightness in the throat

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


Last Updated: 9/15/2016

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