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Albuterol

Other names for this drug
AccuNeb, Proventil®, Proventil® HFA Proventil® Inhalation Aerosol, Proventil® Repetabs® Extend-Release Tablets, Proventil® Syrup, Ventolin®, Ventolin® Inhalation Aerosol, Ventolin Rotacaps®, Volmax® Extended-Release Tablet, VoSpire Extended-Release Tablets

Generic Name: Albuterol

Brand names of combination products that contain Albuterol:
Combivent®
DuoNeb®

What is this drug?
Abuterol is a beta-agonist bronchodilator used to relieve bronchospasms (narrowing of the airways) by relaxing airway muscles (see the muscle of breathing***normal anatomy).

Why is it prescribed?
It is used to relieve and/or prevent shortness of breath, wheezing and improve lung functioning. People who use this medication suffer from; asthma, COPD (emphysema, chronic bronchitis), bronchospasms when exercising (exercise induced asthma), and other lung diseases.

Albuterol is a fast acting drug (starts working 5 minutes after inhalation) and works for 4 to 6 hours, the extend tablets work for up to 12 hours.

How should I take this drug?
Albuterol comes in a variety of forms:

Tablet:

  • Drink a full glass of water when taking tablets.

Extended-Release Tablet (Proventil Repetabs, Volmax, VoSpire):

  • Swallow whole
  • Do Not split, crush, and/or chew
  • Generally taken 2 times a day
  • Drink a full glass of water when taking tablet
  • Most extend tablets have a coating that may not completely dissolve, you may see the coating in your stool.

Syrup:

  • Carefully read the prescribed dose carefully and measure the syrup with a special dose-measuring spoon, syringe and/or cup, not with a regular table spoon.
  • If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist where you can get one.

Meter Dose Inhaler (MDI):

  • For correct technique See Meter Dose Inhaler, click here to see video demonstration
  • Always determine how many days your your MDI will deliver medicine, click here for an easy to use way to count the days. ****Link to Q and A page
  • Shake your inhaler well before using it and make sure it's firmly seated in the plastic mouthpiece.
  • Before using it for the first time, prime the canister with 4 sprays into the air, away from your face.
  • Whenever you have not used your inhaler, for 4 days or more, prime it with 2 sprays into the air away from your face.
  • Use only the adapter that comes with the product; do not use this adapter with any other product.
  • If you are using your inhaler to prevent bronchospasms with exercise, use 15-30 minutes before you start to exercise.
  • It is very important to keep your mouthpiece clean to prevent the clogging. Wash the plastic mouthpiece at least once a week. Let warm running water through the mouthpiece, shake off water, and lay on clean surface to dry overnight.
  • Do Not let the metal canister get wet.
  • Always remember to replace the protective cap when the inhaler is not in use to keep dirt and debris from clogging the exit port.

Nebulizer Solution

  • Keep the dropper clean, otherwise the solution will become dirty and could cause infections. Make sure that the dropper does not touching the outside lip or sides of the bottle and do not lay the dropper down on counter, table, etc.
  • Do not use the solution if it changes colors or is cloudy.

When to call the doctor

  • If it is an emergency, call 911.
  • In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.
  • If the condition is worsens.
  • If you are having to increase the number of your normal puffs and/or if you are not getting relief for your shortness of breath after using your rescue inhalers.
  • Always consult your doctor before making changes to your prescribed medication routine.
  • If you experience any of these side-effects of the medication:
    • heart palpitations
    • increased difficulty breathing
    • swollen face, lower legs, or ankles

Typical dosing

  • Different lung conditions require a different medication schedules, various doses of albuterol, and devices.
  • Your doctor will tell you the amount of medicine and the number of times you are to take your medicine. Follow your doctors orders.
  • If you miss taking your scheduled albuterol, take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
  • If you have questions on how to use the medication devices, see the video demonstrations and/or ask your Respiratory Therapist.
  • See; “how should I take my medicine.

Side-effects

  • Shaky hands
  • "hyper" feeling
  • fast heartbeat,
  • dry mouth
  • headache

These side effects usually only last a short time; call your doctor if side effects do not go away.

Where do I keep this drug?
Store at room temperature, Avoid cold or hot environments
Except for Volmax and Proventil Repetabs which should be stored in the refrigerator

© 2005 American Association for Respiratory Care