Generic Name: albuterol inhalation (al BYOO ter all)
Brand Names: ProAir HFA, ProAir RespiClick, Proventil HFA, Ventolin HFA, AccuNeb
Medically reviewed by Kaci Durbin, MD. Last updated on Jan 14, 2021.
What is albuterol inhalation?
Albuterol is a bronchodilator that relaxes muscles in the airways and increases air flow to the lungs.
Albuterol inhalation is used to treat or prevent bronchospasm, or narrowing of the airways in the lungs, in people with asthma or certain types of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It is also used to prevent exercise-induced bronchospasm.
Albuterol inhalation is for use in adults and children who are at least 4 years old. Always follow your doctor's directions when giving albuterol to a child.
It is important to keep albuterol on hand at all times. Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely. Keep using all of your other medications as prescribed by your doctor.
Talk with your doctor if any of your asthma medications do not seem to work as well in treating or preventing attacks. If it seems like you need to use more of any of your medications in a 24-hour period, talk with your doctor. An increased need for medication could be an early sign of a serious asthma attack.
Only use albuterol as prescribed by your physician. An overdose of albuterol can be fatal. Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. An overdose of albuterol can be fatal. Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use this medicine if you are allergic to albuterol. You should not use ProAir RespiClick if you are allergic to milk proteins.
Albuterol may increase the risk of death or hospitalization in people with asthma, but the risk in people with obstructive airway disease or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is not known.
To make sure albuterol inhalation is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
heart disease, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure;
a heart rhythm disorder;
a seizure disorder such as epilepsy;
overactive thyroid; or
low levels of potassium in your blood.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known whether albuterol will harm an unborn baby. However, having uncontrolled asthma during pregnancy may increase the risk of premature birth, low birth weight, or eclampsia (dangerously high blood pressure that can lead to medical problems in both mother and baby). The benefit of preventing bronchospasm may outweigh any risks to the baby.
If you are pregnant, your name may be listed on a pregnancy registry to track the effects of albuterol on the baby.
It may not be safe to breastfeed while using this medicine. Ask your doctor about any risk.
How should I use albuterol inhalation?
Use albuterol inhalation exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not use albuterol inhalation in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Read all patient information, medication guides, and instruction sheets provided to you. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
You may need to prime your albuterol inhaler device before the first use. Your medicine comes with directions for priming if needed. You may also need to shake your albuterol device just before each use.
Keeping your inhaler clean is important to ensure you are receiving the medication. Clean the plastic actuator with the canister removed at least once a week. Your medicine comes with directions for properly cleaning your device.
Follow all medication instructions very carefully.
Do not allow a young child to use albuterol inhalation without help from an adult.
The usual dose of albuterol inhalation is 2 inhalations every 4 to 6 hours. To prevent exercise-induced bronchospasm, use 2 inhalations 15 to 30 minutes before you exercise. The effects of albuterol inhalation should last about 4 to 6 hours.
Seek medical attention if you think your asthma medications are not working as well. An increased need for medication could be an early sign of a serious asthma attack.
Use the dose counter on your albuterol inhaler device and get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely. Always use the new inhaler device provided with your refill. Do not float a medicine canister in water to see if it is empty.
ProAir HFA, Proventil HFA, or Ventolin HFA must be shaken before each use. You do not need to shake ProAir RespiClick before using.
Follow all product instructions on how to clean your albuterol inhaler device and mouthpiece. Do not try to clean or take apart the ProAir RespiClick inhaler device.
Asthma is often treated with a combination of drugs. Use all medications as directed by your doctor. Read the medication guide or patient instructions provided with each medication. Do not change your doses or medication schedule without your doctor's advice.
Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, or cold temperatures.
Keep the albuterol canister away from open flame or high heat, such as in a car on a hot day. The canister may explode if it gets too hot. Do not puncture or burn an empty inhaler canister.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Use the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. An overdose of albuterol can be fatal.
Overdose symptoms may include dry mouth, tremors, chest pain, fast or irregular heartbeat, nausea, general ill feeling, seizure (convulsions), feeling light-headed or fainting.
What should I avoid while using albuterol inhalation?
Rinse with water if this medicine gets in your eyes.
Albuterol inhalation side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to albuterol: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
wheezing, choking, or other breathing problems after using this medicine;
chest pain, fast heart rate, pounding heartbeats or fluttering in your chest;
pain or burning when you urinate;
increased thirst, increased urination, hunger, dry mouth, fruity breath odor, drowsiness, dry skin, blurred vision, weight loss; or
signs of low potassium - leg cramps, constipation, irregular heartbeats, fluttering in your chest, extreme thirst, increased urination, numbness or tingling, muscle weakness or limp feeling.
Common albuterol side effects may include:
chest pain, fast or pounding heartbeats;
upset stomach, vomiting;
feeling shaky or nervous;
headache, back pain, body aches; or
cough, sore throat, sinus pain, runny or stuffy nose.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What other drugs will affect albuterol inhalation?
Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using, especially:
any other inhaled medicines or bronchodilators;
a diuretic or "water pill";
an antidepressant - amitriptyline, desipramine, imipramine, doxepin, nortriptyline, and others;
a beta blocker - atenolol, carvedilol, labetalol, metoprolol, propranolol, sotalol, and others; or
a MAO inhibitor - isocarboxazid, linezolid, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, tranylcypromine, and others or methylene blue injection
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with albuterol inhalation, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.
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More about albuterol
- Side Effects
- During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
- Dosage Information
- Patient Tips
- Drug Images
- Drug Interactions
- Compare Alternatives
- Support Group
- Pricing & Coupons
- 323 Reviews
- Drug class: adrenergic bronchodilators
- FDA Alerts (5)
Related treatment guides
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use albuterol only for the indication prescribed.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
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