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 or 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 relaxes the airways’ smooth muscle to relieve the symptoms of an asthma attack.
The standard dose of Albuterol inhalation is two inhalations every 4 to 6 hours. To avoid an exercise-induced asthma attack, use 2 puffs 15 to 30 minutes before you exercise. Albuterol is effective for around 4 to 6 hours.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. However, skip a missed dose if it’s time for your next dose. It is not advisable to take other medications to compensate for a missed dose.
If you have taken too much of Albuterol, call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222 because an overdose of Albuterol could be fatal.
Symptoms of an overdose include tremors, shaking, dry mouth, irregular or fast heartbeat, chest pain, feeling nauseous or ill, feeling light-headed or like fainting or experiencing seizures.
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:
There’s a risk of fungi or bacteria to grow inside the inhaler if it’s not kept clean. Always ensure you clean the device properly to avoid the 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.
Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. You and your physician will determine if and how you should take any medication prescribed to you following a medical consultation.
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