Terbutaline

Pronunciation

Generic Name: terbutaline (ter-BUE-ta-leen)
Brand Name: Generic only. No brands available.

Terbutaline should not be used to treat prolonged (more than 48 to 72 hours) premature labor. Serious and sometimes fatal side effects, including fast or irregular heartbeat, high blood sugar, low blood potassium levels, fluid in the lungs, and heart attack, have been reported after the use of terbutaline in pregnant women. Terbutaline may also cause fast heartbeat or low blood sugar in the fetus or newborn if given to a pregnant woman.

Terbutaline should also not be used for premature labor outside of your doctor's office, hospital, or clinic. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.


Terbutaline is used for:

Treating or preventing symptoms caused by spasms or contractions of the muscles around the bronchioles (air tubes) associated with asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Terbutaline is a bronchodilator. It works by dilating (opening) the bronchioles of the lungs by relaxing the muscles around them. This allows for easier airflow into and out of the lungs.

Do NOT use terbutaline if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in terbutaline or to a sympathomimetic amine (eg, epinephrine, albuterol)
  • you need to treat prolonged (more than 48 to 72 hours) premature labor

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

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Before using terbutaline:

Some medical conditions may interact with terbutaline. 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 disease, an irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, an overactive thyroid, diabetes, a history of seizures, or an adrenal gland tumor

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with terbutaline. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) inhibitors (eg, entacapone), droxidopa, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) (eg, phenelzine), or tricyclic antidepressants (eg, amitriptyline) because the risk of side effects, such as life-threatening irregular heartbeat, may be increased
  • Diuretics (eg, furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide) or other sympathomimetic medicines (eg, pseudoephedrine, albuterol) because the risk of their side effects may be increased by terbutaline. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are unsure if any of your medicines may be a sympathomimetic
  • Beta-blockers (eg, propranolol) because they may decrease terbutaline's effectiveness
  • Insulin because its effectiveness may be decreased by terbutaline

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

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

  • Terbutaline is usually given as an injection at your doctor's office, hospital, or clinic. If you will be using terbutaline at home, a health care provider will teach you how to use it. Be sure you understand how to use terbutaline. Follow the procedures you are taught when you use a dose. Contact your health care provider if you have any questions.
  • Do not use terbutaline if it contains particles, is cloudy or discolored, or if the vial is cracked or damaged.
  • Keep this product, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and pets. Do not reuse needles, syringes, or other materials. Ask your health care provider how to dispose of these materials after use. Follow all local rules for disposal.
  • If you miss a dose of terbutaline and 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 terbutaline.

Important safety information:

  • Terbutaline may cause drowsiness or dizziness. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use terbutaline with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • Do NOT take more than the recommended dose or use for longer than prescribed without checking with your doctor.
  • If your breathing problems do not improve, if they get worse after using terbutaline, or if you need to use terbutaline more often than usual, contact your doctor immediately.
  • Tell your doctor or dentist that you take terbutaline before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
  • Diabetes patients - Terbutaline may affect your blood sugar. Check blood sugar levels closely. Ask your doctor before you change the dose of your diabetes medicine.
  • Check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking terbutaline if you have taken an MAOI (eg, phenelzine) or a tricyclic antidepressant (eg, amitriptyline) within the last 2 weeks. The effects of these medicines are long lasting and may still interact with terbutaline.
  • Terbutaline should not be used in CHILDREN younger than 12 years; 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 terbutaline while you are pregnant. It is not known if terbutaline is found in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you use terbutaline, check with your doctor. Discuss any possible risks to your baby.

Possible side effects of terbutaline:

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:

Difficulty sleeping; dizziness; drowsiness; headache; nausea; nervousness.

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

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; increased difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); burning, numbness, or tingling; chest pain or discomfort; fast or irregular heartbeat; hallucinations; muscle pain, weakness, or cramping; pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site; pounding in the chest; seizures; severe or persistent headache or dizziness; tremors; 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; dry mouth; fainting; fast or irregular heartbeat; muscle pain, weakness, or cramping; nervousness; seizures; severe or persistent headache, dizziness, or nausea; unusual tiredness or weakness; tremor; or vomiting.

Proper storage of terbutaline:

Store terbutaline at room temperature, between 68 and 77 degrees F (20 and 25 degrees C). Keep in the original container until ready for use. Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep terbutaline out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

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

Issue Date: July 2, 2014
Database Edition 14.3.1.001
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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