Albuterol inhalers are used to treat asthma. They do not cure asthma, but they are used to treat the symptoms of an asthma attack. Asthma attacks can be sudden, unpredictable and dangerous. If you have asthma it is important to have a reliever inhaler, such as Albuterol, on hand at all times.
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Written by Dr Kim Langdon, MD
Information last reviewed 07/15/19
Albuterol inhalers are used to resolve asthma symptoms. Albuterol is a type of inhaler known as reliever inhaler, that is used to counteract an asthma attack. If you are experiencing asthmatic symptoms, you should take a reliever inhaler, such as Albuterol, as soon as possible. This will help to relax your airways and to resolve your symptoms.
Albuterol inhalers are a type of reliever inhaler. Unlike steroid (preventer) inhalers, reliever inhalers are used to resolve the symptoms of an asthma attack, not to prevent the symptoms from occurring in the first place.
Albuterol inhalers contain a medicine known as a beta 2-agonist. This means that it works by relaxing the smooth muscle of the airways when you inhale it.
Albuterol inhalers, are metered-dose inhalers (MDIs). This means that when you use the inhaler, it delivers a specific dose of the medicine in an aerosolized form. MDIs are easy to use and can be used with spacers to help you inhale the medicine slowly
The active ingredient in Albuterol is albuterol sulfate, also known as salbutamol sulfate. This is the same active ingredient found in other inhalers such as Ventolin and Salamol.
Albuterol sulfate is a beta-2-agonist, which works by relaxing the smooth muscle of the airways to relieve the symptoms of an asthma attack.
The standard dose of Albuterol inhalation is two inhalations every 4 to 6 hours. To prevent exercise-induced asthma, use 2 puffs 15 to 30 minutes before exercise. The effects of albuterol last about 4 to 6 hours.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next scheduled dose, skip the missed dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. An overdose of albuterol can be fatal.
Overdose symptoms may include dry mouth, shaking, tremors, chest pain, fast or irregular heartbeat, nausea, feeling ill, seizures, light-headed or fainting.
If you are using your inhaler for the first time or if you have not used your inhaler for a while, you should prime your inhaler before you use it. Follow these steps to prime your inhaler:
Following this, you can use your inhaler as normal.
To use your Albuterol inhaler, follow these instructions:
To clean your inhaler follow the instructions below:
Failure to keep your inhaler clean could allow bacteria or fungi to build up inside the device, this increases your risk of infections such as oral thrush (yeast infection).
Common Albuterol side effects may include:
Seek immediate medical attention if you have:
Albuterol is not recommended for children under the age of 4, but it is suitable for older children. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, there should not be any interactions with Albuterol, but you should consult the prescribing physician, who can take into account all your health needs.
Albuterol may interaction with a number of other drugs. It is important that you let the prescribing physician know of all or any other medicines you are taking. You should also let them know if you are using any traditional or alternative medicines, as some of these may interfere with the action of the drug.
Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any that you stop or start such as:
Yes, Albuterol is safe for long-term use, however it may become less effective over time as the receptors in your body become less sensitive to the drug.
No. Some inhaled corticosteroids can cause thrush (which is why you should rinse your mouth after using), but albuterol is not part of the class of medications called steroids that can cause thrush.
Some people feel shaky or jittery after using albuterol. This is because albuterol increases the heart rate and your sympathetic (or “fight or flight”) response. This effect should be temporary and go away with time.
No. Albuterol is a short acting beta-agonist inhaler. It is different in mechanism and in purpose than inhaled steroids.
In general, no. Albuterol is a short-acting medication, used to relieve acute asthma symptoms or prevent them for planned exercise. Doses may have to be repeated every few hours depending on symptoms. If you are using albuterol (rescue inhaler) multiple times and still have symptoms, you should seek immediate medical attention.
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