Brethine Side Effects

Generic Name: terbutaline

Note: This page contains information about the side effects of terbutaline. Some of the dosage forms included on this document may not apply to the brand name Brethine.

Not all side effects for Brethine 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 terbutaline: oral elixir, oral tablet

Other dosage forms:

In addition to its needed effects, some unwanted effects may be caused by terbutaline (the active ingredient contained in Brethine). 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 terbutaline:

More common
  • Shakiness in the legs, arms, hands, or feet
  • trembling or shaking of the hands or feet
Less common
  • Extra heartbeat
  • feeling faint, dizzy, or lightheadedness
  • feeling of warmth or heat
  • flushing or redness of the skin, especially on the face and neck
  • headache
  • sweating
Rare
  • Burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, "pins and needles", or tingling feelings
  • excessive muscle tone
  • muscle stiffness
  • muscle tension or tightness

If any of the following symptoms of overdose occur while taking terbutaline, get emergency help immediately:

Symptoms of overdose
  • Arm, back, or jaw pain
  • blurred vision
  • chest pain or discomfort
  • chest tightness or heaviness
  • confusion
  • convulsions
  • decreased urine
  • dizziness
  • dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
  • dry mouth
  • fainting
  • fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
  • general feeling of discomfort or illness
  • increased thirst
  • loss of appetite
  • mood changes
  • muscle pain or cramps
  • nausea or vomiting
  • nervousness
  • numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, or lips
  • pounding in the ears
  • seizures
  • shortness of breath
  • sleeplessness
  • slow or fast heartbeat
  • trouble sleeping
  • unable to sleep
  • unusual tiredness or weakness

Some of the side effects that can occur with terbutaline 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:

More common
  • Sleepiness or unusual drowsiness
Less common
  • Anxiety
  • lack or loss of strength
Rare
  • Fever
  • rash
  • redness, soreness, or itching skin
  • seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there
  • sores, welting, or blisters

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to terbutaline: compounding powder, inhalation aerosol, inhalation aerosol with adapter, injectable solution, oral tablet

General

Terbutaline has usually been well tolerated and adverse effects seen have been consistent with its pharmacological action. In general, the severity of these adverse effects have been dependent on dose and the route of administration. Administration by metered dose inhaler (MDI) has been associated with less systemic effects than administration of higher doses by nebulizer or orally. Tolerance to the adverse effects of terbutaline (the active ingredient contained in Brethine) has occurred.

Cardiovascular

Changes in heart rate of approximately 30% may be observed following 5 mg of terbutaline (the active ingredient contained in Brethine) given orally. Aggravation of angina may be due to the tachycardia induced by terbutaline. Prolongation of the QT interval occurred in ten healthy males given a bolus injection of 0.25 mg terbutaline followed by an infusion of 5 mcg/min. Supraventricular ectopic beats and ventricular tachycardia have also been reported. Higher dosages of terbutaline 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.

In one case-control study a positive association was found between the use of oral terbutaline for longer than 9 days and peripartum cardiomyopathy. Further study is needed to determine if a causative relationship exists.

Cardiovascular side effects have included palpitations and peripheral vasodilation, commonly resulting in reflex tachycardia. Changes in blood pressure, both increases and decreases, have been reported. Higher dosages have rarely aggravated angina and myocardial ischemia or caused atrial or ventricular arrhythmias. Rarely, peripartum cardiomyopathy has been reported with oral therapy. Pulmonary edema has occurred in pregnant patients receiving intravenous terbutaline.

Musculoskeletal

Musculoskeletal side effects have included tremors, especially at higher doses. Tolerance has developed to the tremorogenic effects. Severe muscle cramping has been rarely reported.

Metabolic

Metabolic side effects have included hypokalemia, hypomagnesemia, and less commonly hyperglycemia.

Infusions of terbutaline, 25 mcg/min, in women in premature labor has caused decreases in serum potassium of up to 1.6 to 2 mEq/L. Another study in ten healthy males produced a mean decrease in serum potassium of 0.9 mEq/L following a bolus injection of 0.25 mg terbutaline, followed by an infusion of 5 mcg/min. A decrease in magnesium of 0.08 mmol/L was produced in these same patients.

This fall in potassium is presumably due to an intracellular shift of potassium secondary to hyperglycemia and hyperinsulinemia.

Nervous system

Nervous system side effects have included headache, restlessness, anxiety, nervousness, irritability, and insomnia.

Other

Other side effects have included the development of tachyphylaxis to the bronchodilating effects of terbutaline (the active ingredient contained in Brethine) Although conflicting data exist, the development of complete tolerance has not been reported.

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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