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Pirbuterol

Generic Name: pirbuterol (pir-BUE-ter-ol)
Brand Name: Maxair Autohaler

Pirbuterol is used for:

Treating or preventing the symptoms of asthma. It may be used alone or in combination with other medicines. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Pirbuterol is a beta agonist. 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 pirbuterol if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in pirbuterol
  • you are using another short-acting sympathomimetic bronchodilator (eg, albuterol)
  • you take a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) (eg, phenelzine)

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

Slideshow: Asthma - 10 Things You Need To Do To Keep It In Check

Before using pirbuterol:

Some medical conditions may interact with pirbuterol. 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 heart problems (eg, irregular heartbeat), high blood pressure, diabetes, an overactive thyroid, a history of seizures, or low blood potassium levels
  • if you have ever had an unusual reaction to another sympathomimetic medicine (eg, pseudoephedrine, albuterol)
  • if you have taken an MAOI (eg, phenelzine) or tricyclic antidepressant (eg, amitriptyline) within the last 14 days

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with pirbuterol. 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), linezolid, an MAOI (eg, phenelzine), short-acting sympathomimetic bronchodilators (eg, albuterol), stimulants (eg, amphetamine), sympathomimetics (eg, pseudoephedrine), or tricyclic antidepressants (eg, amitriptyline) because they may increase the risk of pirbuterol's side effects
  • Beta-blockers (eg, propranolol) because they may decrease pirbuterol's effectiveness

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

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

  • An extra patient leaflet is available with pirbuterol. Talk to your pharmacist if you have questions about this information.
  • Prime the inhaler as directed on the patient leaflet before using it for the first time and if it has not been used for 48 hours.
  • To use a dose, remove the mouthpiece cover. Hold the inhaler upright (arrows should point up). Raise the lever until it snaps into place. SHAKE GENTLY several times. Hold the inhaler around the middle, making sure that you do not block the air vents.
  • While holding upright, turn your head away from the inhaler and breathe out fully. Place the mouthpiece between your lips and seal your lips around the mouthpiece. Inhale deeply through the mouthpiece with a steady, moderate force. You will hear a "click" and feel a puff when the medicine releases. Do NOT stop inhaling when you feel the puff. Continue to take a full, deep breath.
  • Remove the inhaler from your mouth. Hold your breath for 10 seconds, then exhale slowly. Continue to hold the inhaler upright while lowering the lever.
  • If you need to use more than 1 inhalation, wait 1 minute, then repeat.
  • Do not use pirbuterol with any other mouthpiece. Do not use this mouthpiece with any other medicine.
  • Keep track of how many inhalations you have used. Throw away the canister after you have used the labeled number of inhalations. It may no longer give the correct amount of medicine.
  • Clean the inhaler according to the directions in the extra patient leaflet.
  • If you miss a dose of pirbuterol and you are using it regularly, use 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 use 2 doses at once.

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

Important safety information:

  • Pirbuterol may cause dizziness. This effect may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use pirbuterol with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • Pirbuterol 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.
  • Do not get pirbuterol in your eyes. If you get it in your eyes, rinse right away with cool water.
  • Pirbuterol should work for at least 5 hours. Do not use more than the recommended dose or more often than prescribed without checking with your doctor.
  • If your usual dose does not work well, if you need to use it more often than normal, or your symptoms get worse, contact your doctor at once. Your asthma could be getting worse and your doctor may need to change your medicine.
  • 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.
  • Carry an ID card at all times that says you have asthma.
  • Do not store or use pirbuterol near heat or an open flame or while smoking.
  • Tell your doctor or dentist that you take pirbuterol before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
  • Pirbuterol should not be used in CHILDREN younger than 12 years old; safety and effectiveness in these children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using pirbuterol while you are pregnant. It is not known if pirbuterol is found in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you use pirbuterol, check with your doctor. Discuss any possible risks to your baby.

Possible side effects of pirbuterol:

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:

Cough; dizziness; headache; nausea; nervousness; tremor.

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

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; wheezing; increased difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); chest pain; confusion; depression; fainting; fast or irregular heartbeat; muscle weakness or cramps; new or worsened trouble breathing; severe or persistent headache or dizziness; tightness in the chest; 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 pirbuterol:

Store pirbuterol at room temperature, between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C). Store away from extreme temperatures (above 120 degrees F [49 degrees C]). Store away from direct sunlight. Do not store or use near heat or open flame. Do not puncture, break, or burn the canister even if it appears to be empty. Keep pirbuterol out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about pirbuterol, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Pirbuterol 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 pirbuterol 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 pirbuterol. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to pirbuterol. 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 pirbuterol.

Issue Date: November 5, 2014
Database Edition 14.4.1.002
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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