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Albuterol

Pronunciation

Generic Name: albuterol (al-BUE-ter-ol)
Brand Name: Generic only. No brands available.

Albuterol is used for:

Treating breathing problems in patients who have asthma or certain other airway diseases. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Albuterol 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 if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in albuterol
  • you are taking another sympathomimetic (eg, pseudoephedrine), except for a bronchodilator inhaler as directed by your doctor

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Slideshow: What is Asthma? Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Before using albuterol:

Some medical conditions may interact with albuterol. 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, heart failure), 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. 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), epinephrine, 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's side effects
  • Beta-blockers (eg, propranolol) because they may decrease albuterol's effectiveness
  • Digoxin because its effectiveness may be decreased by albuterol

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if albuterol 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:

Use albuterol as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Take albuterol by mouth with or without food.
  • Do not stop using albuterol without checking with your doctor.
  • If you miss a dose of albuterol, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use albuterol.

Important safety information:

  • Albuterol may cause dizziness. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use albuterol with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • 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 should work for up to 8 hours or longer. 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.
  • Tell your doctor or dentist that you take albuterol before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
  • Check with your doctor before using any other asthma medicines, including inhaled medicines, while you are using albuterol.
  • Diabetes patients - Albuterol may affect your blood sugar. Check blood sugar levels closely. Ask your doctor before you change the dose of your diabetes medicine.
  • When your medicine supply begins to run low, call your doctor or pharmacy as soon as possible for a refill.
  • Use albuterol with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects.
  • Albuterol should be used with extreme caution in CHILDREN younger than 6 years old; safety and effectiveness in these children have not been confirmed.
  • Caution is advised when using albuterol 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 while you are pregnant. It is not known if albuterol is found in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you use albuterol, check with your doctor. Discuss any possible risks to your baby.

Possible side effects of albuterol:

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:

Dizziness; headache; nausea; nervousness; sinus inflammation; sore or dry throat; tremor; trouble sleeping; vomiting.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); chest pain; ear pain; fast or irregular heartbeat; new or worsened trouble breathing; pounding in the chest; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin; 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:

Store albuterol at room temperature, between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C). Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep albuterol out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about albuterol, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Albuterol 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 should not be used to decide whether or not to take albuterol 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 albuterol. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to albuterol. 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 albuterol.

Issue Date: September 3, 2014
Database Edition 14.3.1.003
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

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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