Albuterol Inhalation

Pronunciation

Generic Name: albuterol inhalation (al BYOO ter all)
Brand Names: Accuneb, ProAir HFA, Proventil, Proventil HFA, ReliOn Ventolin HFA, Ventolin HFA

What is albuterol inhalation?

Albuterol is a bronchodilator that relaxes muscles in the airways and increases air flow to the lungs.

Albuterol inhalation is used to treat or prevent bronchospasm in people with reversible obstructive airway disease. Albuterol is also used to prevent exercise-induced bronchospasm.

Albuterol inhalation may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important information

It is important to keep albuterol on hand at all times. Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely. Keep using all of your other medications as prescribed by your doctor.

Talk with your doctor if any of your asthma medications do not seem to work as well in treating or preventing attacks. If it seems like you need to use more of any of your medications in a 24-hour period, talk with your doctor. An increased need for medication could be an early sign of a serious asthma attack.

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Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. An overdose of albuterol can be fatal. Extreme heat can cause the medicine canister to burst. Do not store your inhaler in your car on hot days. Do not throw an empty canister into open flame.

Before using albuterol inhalation

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to albuterol.

To make sure you can safely use albuterol, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:

  • heart disease, high blood pressure, or congestive heart failure;

  • a heart rhythm disorder;

  • a seizure disorder such as epilepsy;

  • diabetes; or

  • overactive thyroid.

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether albuterol will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medication. It is not known whether albuterol passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are using albuterol. An inhaler should not be given to a child younger than 4 years old. Albuterol solution in a nebulizer should not be given to a child younger than 2 years of age.

See also: Pregnancy and breastfeeding warnings (in more detail)

How should I use albuterol inhalation?

Use albuterol inhalation exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Use only the prescribed dose of this medicine and follow all patient instructions for safe use. Talk with your doctor about your individual risks and benefits of using albuterol.

When using the albuterol inhaler device for the first time, prime it by spraying 4 test sprays into the air, away from your face. Shake well before priming. Also prime the inhaler if you have not used it for 2 weeks or longer, or if you have dropped the inhaler.

The instructions below are for standard use of the inhaler and nebulizer devices. Your doctor may want you to use your device differently. Use only the inhaler device provided with your medicine or you may not get the correct dose.

To use the albuterol inhaler:

  • Shake the canister well just before each spray.
  • Uncap the mouthpiece of the albuterol inhaler. Breathe out fully. Put the mouthpiece into your mouth and close your lips. Breathe in slowly while pushing down on the canister. Hold your breath for 10 seconds, then breathe out slowly.

  • If you use more than one inhalation at a time, wait at least 1 minute before using the second inhalation and shake the inhaler again.

  • Keep your albuterol inhaler clean and dry, and store it with the cap on the mouthpiece. Clean your inhaler once a week by removing the canister and placing the mouthpiece under warm running water for at least 30 seconds. Shake out the excess water and allow the parts to air dry completely before putting the inhaler back together.

To use the albuterol solution with a nebulizer:

  • Measure the correct amount of albuterol using the dropper provided, or use the proper number of ampules. Place the liquid into the medication chamber of the nebulizer.

  • Attach the mouthpiece or face mask to the drug chamber. Then, attach the drug chamber to the compressor.

  • Sit upright in a comfortable position. Place the mouthpiece into your mouth or put the face mask on, covering your nose and mouth. Turn on the compressor.

  • Breathe in slowly and evenly until you have inhaled all of the medicine (usually 5 to 15 minutes). The treatment is complete when no more mist is formed by the nebulizer and the drug chamber is empty.

  • Clean the nebulizer after each use. Follow the cleaning directions that came with your nebulizer.

Talk with your doctor if any of your asthma medications do not seem to work as well in treating or preventing attacks. If it seems like you need to use more of any of your medications in a 24-hour period, talk with your doctor.

An increased need albuterol could be an early sign of a serious asthma attack.

It is important to keep albuterol inhalation on hand at all times. Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely. Keep using all of your other medications as prescribed by your doctor.

Store albuterol inhalation at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Extreme heat can cause the medicine canister to burst. Do not store it in your car on hot days. Do not throw an empty canister into open flame.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Use the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

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 nervousness, headache, tremor, dry mouth, chest pain or heavy feeling, rapid or uneven heart rate, pain spreading to the arm or shoulder, nausea, sweating, dizziness, seizure (convulsions), feeling light-headed or fainting.

What should I avoid?

Avoid getting this medication in your eyes. If this does happen, rinse the eyes with water and seek medical attention.

Albuterol inhalation side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to albuterol: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • bronchospasm (wheezing, chest tightness, trouble breathing), especially after starting a new canister of this medicine;

  • chest pain and fast, pounding, or uneven heart beats;

  • tremor, nervousness;

  • low potassium (confusion, uneven heart rate, extreme thirst, increased urination, leg discomfort, muscle weakness or limp feeling); or

  • dangerously high blood pressure (severe headache, blurred vision, buzzing in your ears, anxiety, confusion, chest pain, shortness of breath, uneven heartbeats, seizure).

Less serious albuterol side effects may include:

  • headache, dizziness;

  • sleep problems (insomnia);

  • cough, hoarseness, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose;

  • mild nausea, vomiting;

  • dry mouth and throat;

  • muscle pain; or

  • diarrhea.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

Albuterol inhalation dosing information

Usual Adult Albuterol Dose for Asthma -- Acute:

Metered-dose inhaler: 2 puffs every 4 to 6 hours as needed.

Inhalation capsules: 200 mcg inhaled every 4 to 6 hours.
May increase to 400 mcg inhaled every 4 to 6 hours, if necessary.

Nebulizer: 2.5 mg every 6 to 8 hours as needed. (2.5 to 5 mg once followed by 2.5 mg every 20 minutes for acute bronchospasm).

Usual Adult Albuterol Dose for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease -- Acute:

Metered-dose inhaler: 2 puffs every 4 to 6 hours as needed.

Inhalation capsules: 200 mcg inhaled every 4 to 6 hours.
May increase to 400 mcg inhaled every 4 to 6 hours, if necessary.

Nebulizer: 2.5 mg every 6 to 8 hours as needed. (2.5 to 5 mg once followed by 2.5 mg every 20 minutes for acute bronchospasm).

Usual Adult Albuterol Dose for Bronchospasm Prophylaxis:

Metered-dose inhaler: 2 puffs (180 or 216 mcg) 15 minutes before exercise.
Inhalation capsules: 200 mcg inhaled 15 minutes before exercise.

Usual Adult Albuterol Dose for Asthma -- Maintenance:

Metered-dose inhaler: 2 puffs every 4 to 6 hours. More frequent administration or a large number of inhalations is not recommended.

Inhalation capsules: 200 mcg inhaled every 4 to 6 hours.
May increase to 400 mcg inhaled every 4 to 6 hours, if necessary.

Tablets: 2 to 4 mg orally 3 to 4 times a day. May increase stepwise to a maximum of 8 mg orally 4 times a day.

Extended-release tablets: 4 to 8 mg orally every 8 hours. May increase to a maximum of 16 mg orally twice a day.

Syrup: 2 to 4 mg orally 3 to 4 times a day. Doses > 4 mg should be given 4 times a day. May increase up to 8 mg orally 4 times a day.

Usual Adult Albuterol Dose for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease -- Maintenance:

Metered-dose inhaler: 2 puffs every 4 to 6 hours. More frequent administration or a large number of inhalations is not recommended.

Inhalation capsules: 200 mcg inhaled every 4 to 6 hours.
May increase to 400 mcg inhaled every 4 to 6 hours, if necessary.

Tablets: 2 to 4 mg orally 3 to 4 times a day. May increase stepwise to a maximum of 8 mg orally 4 times a day.

Extended-release tablets: 4 to 8 mg orally every 8 hours. May increase to a maximum of 16 mg orally twice a day.

Syrup: 2 to 4 mg orally 3 to 4 times a day. Doses > 4 mg should be given 4 times a day. May increase up to 8 mg orally 4 times a day.

Usual Pediatric Albuterol Dose for Asthma -- Acute:

Less than 1 year:

Nebulizer: 0.05 to 0.15 mg/kg/dose every 4 to 6 hours with subsequent doses titrated based on clinical response.

1 year to 4 years:

Nebulizer: 1.25 to 2.5 mg every 4 to 6 hours with subsequent doses titrated based on clinical response.

5 years or older:

Metered-dose inhaler (HFA): 2 puffs (216 mcg) every 4 to 6 hours as needed.

Inhalation capsules: 200 mcg inhaled every 4 to 6 hours.
May increase to 400 mcg inhaled every 4 to 6 hours, if necessary.

5 years to 11 years:

Nebulizer: 2.5 mg every 4 to 6 hours with subsequent doses titrated based on clinical response.

12 years or older:

Nebulizer: 2.5 to 5 mg every 6 hours as needed.

Metered dose inhaler (non-HFA): 2 puffs every (180 mcg) every 4 to 6 hours.

Usual Pediatric Albuterol Dose for Bronchospasm Prophylaxis:

Over 4 years:

Metered-dose inhaler (HFA): 2 puffs (216 mcg)15 minutes before exercise.
Inhalation capsules: 200 mcg inhaled 15 minutes before exercise.

12 years or older:

Metered-dose inhaler (non-HFA): 2 puffs (180 mcg) 15 minutes before exercise.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Asthma -- Maintenance:

2 years to 5 years:

Syrup or tablets: 0.1 to 0.2 mg/kg 3 times daily. Do not exceed 12 mg a day.

Over 4 years:

Metered-dose inhaler (HFA): 2 puffs (216 mcg) every 4 to 6 hours. More frequent administration or a large number of inhalations is not recommended.

Inhalation capsules: 200 mcg inhaled every 4 to 6 hours.
May increase to 400 mcg inhaled every 4 to 6 hours, if necessary.

6 years to 11 years:

Syrup or tablets: 2 to 6 mg orally 3 to 4 times a day. May increase stepwise to a maximum of 24 mg/day in divided doses.

Extended-release tablets: 4 to 12 mg orally every 12 hours. May increase to a maximum of 12 mg orally twice a day.

12 years or older:

Syrup or tablets: 2 to 8 mg orally 3 to 4 times a day. Doses > 4 mg should be given 4 times a day. May increase up to 8 mg orally 4 times a day.

Extended-release tablets: 4 to 8 mg orally every 8 hours. May increase to a maximum of 16 mg orally twice a day.

Metered-dose inhaler (non-HFA): 2 puffs (180 mcg) every 4 to 6 hours. More frequent administration or a large number of inhalations is not recommended.

What other drugs will affect albuterol inhalation?

Tell your doctor about all other medicines you use, especially:

  • a diuretic (water pill);

  • digoxin (digitalis, Lanoxin);

  • a beta-blocker such as atenolol (Tenormin, Tenoretic), carvedilol (Coreg), labetalol (Normodyne, Trandate), metoprolol (Dutoprol, Lopressor, Toprol), nadolol (Corgard), nebivolol (Bystolic), propranolol (Inderal, InnoPran), sotalol (Betapace), and others;

  • an antidepressant such as amitriptyline (Elavil, Vanatrip, Limbitrol), doxepin (Sinequan, Silenor), nortriptyline (Pamelor), and others;

  • an MAO inhibitor such as furazolidone (Furoxone), isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), rasagiline (Azilect), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam, Zelapar), or tranylcypromine (Parnate); or

  • other bronchodilators such as levalbuterol (Xopenex), pirbuterol (Maxair), terbutaline (Brethine, Bricanyl), salmeterol (Advair, Serevent), metaproterenol (Alupent, Metaprel), or isoproterenol (Isuprel Mistometer).

This list is not complete and other drugs may interact with albuterol. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist can provide more information about albuterol inhalation.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use albuterol only for the indication prescribed.
  • p>Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects.

Copyright 1996-2014 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 6.01. Revision Date: 2012-07-12, 3:02:43 PM.

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