Albuterol Side Effects

Not all side effects for albuterol may be reported. You should always consult a doctor or healthcare professional for medical advice. Side effects can be reported to the FDA here.

For the Consumer

Applies to albuterol: oral syrup, oral tablet, oral tablet extended release

In addition to its needed effects, some unwanted effects may be caused by albuterol. In the event that any of these side effects do occur, they may require medical attention.

You should check with your doctor immediately if any of these side effects occur when taking albuterol:

More common
  • Shakiness in the legs, arms, hands, or feet
  • trembling or shaking of the hands or feet
Less common
  • Fast, irregular, pounding, or racing heartbeat or pulse
Rare
  • Cough
  • difficulty breathing
  • difficulty with swallowing
  • hives or welts
  • hoarseness
  • large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs
  • noisy breathing
  • redness of the skin
  • shortness of breath
  • skin rash
  • slow or irregular breathing
  • swelling of the mouth or throat
  • tightness in the chest
  • wheezing
Incidence not known
  • Agitation
  • anxiety
  • arm, back, or jaw pain
  • blurred vision
  • chest pain or discomfort
  • confusion
  • convulsions
  • extra heartbeats
  • fainting
  • hallucinations
  • headache
  • irritability
  • lightheadedness
  • mood or mental changes
  • muscle pain or cramps
  • muscle spasm or jerking of all extremities
  • nervousness
  • nightmares
  • pounding in the ears
  • restlessness
  • sudden loss of consciousness
  • sweating
  • total body jerking
  • unusual feeling of excitement
  • vomiting

Some of the side effects that can occur with albuterol may not need medical attention. As your body adjusts to the medicine during treatment these side effects may go away. Your health care professional may also be able to tell you about ways to reduce or prevent some of these side effects. If any of the following side effects continue, are bothersome or if you have any questions about them, check with your health care professional:

Less common
  • Dizziness
  • feeling of warmth
  • irritability
  • nausea
  • redness of the face, neck, arms, and occasionally, upper chest
  • sleeplessness
  • trouble with holding or releasing urine
  • trouble sleeping
  • unable to sleep
Rare
  • Sleepiness
  • unusual drowsiness
Incidence not known
  • Bad, unusual, or unpleasant (after) taste
  • change in taste
  • feeling of constant movement of self or surroundings
  • gagging
  • rough, scratchy sound to voice
  • sensation of spinning
  • tightness in the throat

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to albuterol: compounding powder, inhalation aerosol, inhalation aerosol with adapter, inhalation capsule, inhalation solution, oral syrup, oral tablet, oral tablet extended release

General

Albuterol is generally well-tolerated and adverse effects seen are consistent with its pharmacological activity. In general, the severity of these adverse effects is dependent on the dose and route of administration. Administration by metered-dose inhaler (MDI) is associated with less systemic effects than administration of higher dosages orally or by nebulizer. Tolerance may develop to the adverse effects of albuterol.

Cardiovascular

Changes in heart rate of approximately 20% may be produced by 0.18 mg of albuterol by MDI. Aggravation of angina may be due to tachycardia produced by albuterol. Atrial fibrillation was reported in one patient when a spacer device was utilized with an albuterol inhaler, thus increasing the available dose for systemic absorption. Supraventricular ectopic beats and ventricular tachycardia have also been reported. Higher doses of albuterol should be used with caution in patients with cardiac disease, arrhythmias, or hypertension. All of these effects are dose-related and lower doses may be tolerated.

The cardiovascular side effects have included palpitations, peripheral vasodilatation and reflex tachycardia with blood pressure increasing or decreasing. Albuterol in higher dosages has been reported to aggravate angina, myocardial ischemia, or cause atrial or ventricular arrhythmias. Pulmonary edema has been reported in pregnant patients receiving intravenous albuterol. Postmarketing reports have included hypotension.

Musculoskeletal

Musculoskeletal side effects have included tremors, particularly at higher dosages. Tolerance can develop to the tremorogenic effects. Severe muscle cramping may occur infrequently.

Metabolic

Following doses of 15 mg albuterol via nebulizer, hyperkalemic patients on hemodialysis experienced a 0.9 mEq/L decrease in plasma potassium which was sustained for 6 hours. Albuterol may stimulate sodium-potassium ATPase, resulting in an intracellular shift of potassium.

Transient lactic acidosis has been reported after administration of inhaled albuterol for an asthma attack.

Metabolic side effects have included hypokalemia, and less commonly, hyperglycemia and lactic acidosis. Postmarketing reports have included metabolic acidosis. Diabetic ketoacidosis has been reported due to overdose of albuterol.

Nervous system

Nervous system side effects have included restlessness, anxiety, nervousness, irritability, and insomnia. Postmarketing reports have included tremor.

Psychiatric

Psychiatric side effects have included psychoses presenting as auditory hallucinations and persecutory delusions. These effects are generally associated with higher dosages.

Other

Concern over the development of tachyphylaxis to the bronchodilating effects of albuterol has been expressed. Although conflicting data exist, complete tolerance has not been reported.

Respiratory

Respiratory side effects have included paradoxical bronchospasm.

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. In addition, the drug information contained herein may be time sensitive and should not be utilized as a reference resource beyond the date hereof. This material does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients, or recommend therapy. This information is a reference resource designed as supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill , knowledge, and judgement of healthcare practitioners in patient care. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate safety, effectiveness, or appropriateness for any given patient. Drugs.com does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of materials provided. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.

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