Generic Name: albuterol (al-BUE-ter-ol)
Brand Name: Examples include Proventil and Ventolin
Albuterol aerosol is used for:
Treating or preventing breathing problems in patients who have asthma or certain other airway diseases. It may be used to prevent breathing problems caused by exercise. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.
Albuterol aerosol is a sympathomimetic (beta agonist) bronchodilator. It works by relaxing the smooth muscle in the airway, which allows air to flow in and out of the lungs more easily.
Do NOT use albuterol aerosol if:
- you are allergic to any ingredient in albuterol aerosol
- you are using another short-acting sympathomimetic bronchodilator (eg, metaproterenol)
Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.
Before using albuterol aerosol:
Some medical conditions may interact with albuterol aerosol. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:
- if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
- if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
- if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
- if you have a history of heart problems, (eg, fast or irregular heartbeat, low blood output), blood vessel problems, high blood pressure, or low blood potassium levels
- if you have a history of seizures, diabetes, an overactive thyroid, kidney problems, or an adrenal gland tumor (pheochromocytoma)
- if you have ever had an unusual reaction to another sympathomimetic medicine (eg, pseudoephedrine)
- if you are taking a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) (eg, phenelzine) or tricyclic antidepressant (eg, amitriptyline), or if you have taken either of these medicines within the last 14 days
Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with albuterol aerosol. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:
- Diuretics (eg, furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide) because the risk of low blood potassium levels may be increased
- Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) inhibitors (eg, entacapone), MAOIs (eg, phenelzine), short-acting sympathomimetic bronchodilators (eg, metaproterenol), stimulants (eg, amphetamine), sympathomimetics (eg, pseudoephedrine), or tricyclic antidepressants (eg, amitriptyline) because they may increase the risk of albuterol aerosol's side effects
- Beta-blockers (eg, propranolol) because they may decrease albuterol aerosol's effectiveness
- Digoxin because its effectiveness may be decreased by albuterol aerosol
This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if albuterol aerosol may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.
How to use albuterol aerosol:
Use albuterol aerosol as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.
- An extra patient leaflet is available with albuterol aerosol. Talk to your pharmacist if you have questions about this information.
- Albuterol aerosol is for oral inhalation only. Do not spray in the eyes. If you get albuterol aerosol in the eyes, rinse immediately with cool tap water.
- Prime the inhaler before the first use, any time it has not been used for more than 2 weeks, or if it has been dropped. To prime the inhaler, point it away from you and others. Spray 4 times, shaking well before each spray. If the inhaler has not been used for at least 4 days, re-prime by spraying 2 times.
- Before using albuterol aerosol, be sure that the canister is properly placed in the inhaler unit. Shake well before each use. Remove the protective cap from the mouthpiece and check to make sure there are no hidden foreign objects. Breathe out slowly and completely. Place the mouthpiece between your lips and try to rest your tongue flat, unless your doctor has told you otherwise. Your doctor may have told you to hold the inhaler 1 or 2 inches (2 or 3 centimeters) away from the open mouth or to use a special spacing device. As you start to take a slow deep breath, press the canister and mouthpiece together at exactly the same time. This will release a dose of albuterol aerosol. Continue breathing in slowly and deeply and hold for as long as comfortable (up to 10 seconds), then breathe out slowly through pursed lips or your nose. If more than 1 inhalation is to be used, wait 1 minute and repeat the above steps. Keep the spray away from your eyes.
- Albuterol aerosol may cause dry mouth or an unpleasant taste in your mouth. Rinsing your mouth with water after each dose may help relieve these effects.
- Clean the plastic mouthpiece and cap at least once a week to prevent blockage. Remove the metal canister. Rinse in warm running water for 30 seconds. Shake off excess water, and then allow the mouthpiece to air dry completely (eg, overnight). After the plastic case and cap dry, replace the canister. Spray 1 time into the air away from yourself and others. Place the cap back on the mouthpiece. Do NOT allow the metal canister to become wet.
- If you must use the inhaler before it is completely dry, shake the excess water off of the plastic mouthpiece. Shake the canister well, then insert into the plastic case and spray 1 time into the air away from yourself and others. You may then use a dose. After your dose, rewash the plastic case and air dry completely.
- If the inhaler becomes blocked, wash the plastic case as directed.
- This inhaler contains 200 sprays. Do not use this inhaler after 200 sprays have been used. It may not give the correct amount of medicine with each spray.
- Do not use albuterol aerosol with any other mouthpiece. Do not use this mouthpiece with any other medicine.
- Do not stop using albuterol aerosol without checking with your doctor.
- If you miss a dose of albuterol aerosol and you are using it regularly, use it as soon as possible. If several hours have passed or if it is nearing time for the next dose, do not double the dose to catch up, unless advised by your health care provider. Do not use 2 doses at once.
Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use albuterol aerosol.
Important safety information:
- Albuterol aerosol may cause dizziness. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use albuterol aerosol with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
- Albuterol aerosol may sometimes cause severe breathing problems right after you use a dose. When this problem occurs, it is often after the first use of a new canister or vial. If this happens, seek medical care at once.
- If your usual dose does not work well, your symptoms become worse, or you need to use it more often than normal, contact your doctor at once. This may be a sign of seriously worsening asthma. Your doctor may need to change your dose or medicine.
- Albuterol aerosol should work for up to 6 hours. Do NOT use more than the recommended dose or use more often than prescribed without checking with your doctor. The risk of severe heart problems and sometimes death may be increased with overuse of albuterol aerosol.
- Some patients may have trouble using albuterol aerosol correctly. Some may also get mouth sores or a bad taste in the mouth after using it. If you have any of these problems, ask your health care provider if a spacing device may help.
- Tell your doctor or dentist that you take albuterol aerosol before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
- Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about all of your asthma medicines and how to use them. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any asthma medicine unless your doctor tells you to.
- Keep track of how many inhalations you use. When your medicine supply begins to run low, call your doctor or pharmacy as soon as possible for a refill.
- Do NOT place the canister in water to try to determine how much medicine you have left.
- The contents of this canister are under pressure. Do NOT puncture, break, or burn container, even if it appears empty.
- Diabetes patients - Albuterol aerosol may affect your blood sugar. Check blood sugar levels closely. Ask your doctor before you change the dose of your diabetes medicine.
- Use albuterol aerosol with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects.
- Caution is advised when using albuterol aerosol in CHILDREN; they may be more sensitive to its effects.
- PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using albuterol aerosol while you are pregnant. It is not known if albuterol aerosol is found in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you use albuterol aerosol, check with your doctor. Discuss any possible risks to your baby.
Possible side effects of albuterol aerosol:
All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:
Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:
Cough; headache; nausea; nervousness; sinus inflammation; sore or dry throat; tremor; trouble sleeping; unusual taste in mouth; vomiting.
Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); chest pain; fast or irregular heartbeat; new or worsened trouble breathing; pounding in the chest; severe headache or dizziness; unusual hoarseness; wheezing.
This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.
If OVERDOSE is suspected:
Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include chest pain; fast or irregular heartbeat; seizures; severe headache or dizziness; severe or persistent nervousness or trouble sleeping; tremor.Proper storage of albuterol aerosol:
Store albuterol aerosol upright between 59 and 77 degrees F (15 and 25 degrees C). Do not freeze. Contents are under pressure. Do not puncture. Do not use or store near heat or open flame. Do not expose the container to temperatures above 120 degrees F (48 degrees C). The container may burst. Store the inhaler with the mouthpiece down. Do not use after the expiration date on the container or box. Keep albuterol aerosol out of the reach of children and away from pets.
- If you have any questions about albuterol aerosol, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- Albuterol aerosol is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
- If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
- Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.
This information is a summary only. It does not contain all information about albuterol aerosol. If you have questions about the medicine you are taking or would like more information, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.
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