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Albuterol

Generic Name: albuterol (oral) (al BUE ter ol)
Brand Name:

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com on Nov 22, 2019 – Written by Cerner Multum

What is albuterol?

Albuterol oral is a bronchodilator taken by mouth to treat bronchospasm (wheezing, shortness of breath).

Albuterol is for use in adults and children at least 6 years old.

Albuterol may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important Information

Follow all directions on your medicine label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use albuterol if you are allergic to it.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

Older adults may be more sensitive to the effects of albuterol.

It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

You should not breastfeed while you are taking albuterol.

How should I take albuterol?

Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Use the medicine exactly as directed.

Albuterol can have long-lasting effects (up to 8 hours or longer). Do not take this medication more often than prescribed.

Albuterol is not a rescue medicine for bronchospasm attacks. Use only fast-acting inhalation medicine for an attack. Seek medical attention if your breathing problems get worse quickly, or if you think your medications are not working as well.

Use all asthma or COPD medications as directed. Your dose needs may change due to surgery, illness, stress, or a recent asthma attack. Do not change your dose or dosing schedule without your doctor's advice. Tell your doctor if any of your medicines seem to stop working.

Swallow the extended-release tablet whole and do not crush, chew, or break it.

Measure liquid medicine carefully. Use the dosing syringe provided, or use a medicine dose-measuring device (not a kitchen spoon).

Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light. Keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use. Do not freeze.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take 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.

What should I avoid while taking albuterol?

Avoid taking diet pills or cold medicine that contains a decongestant (phenylephrine, pseudoephedrine).

Albuterol side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction (hives, difficult breathing, swelling in your face or throat) or a severe skin reaction (fever, sore throat, burning eyes, skin pain, red or purple skin rash with blistering and peeling).

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • wheezing, choking, or other breathing problems after using albuterol;

  • fast or pounding heartbeats or fluttering in your chest;

  • severe headache, blurred vision, pounding in your neck or ears;

  • chest pain;

  • severe dizziness;

  • a seizure;

  • worsening asthma or COPD symptoms; or

  • low potassium level--leg cramps, constipation, irregular heartbeats, fluttering in your chest, increased thirst or urination, numbness or tingling, muscle weakness or limp feeling.

Common side effects may include:

  • chest pain, fast heartbeats;

  • tremors, nervousness;

  • headache;

  • dry mouth, throat irritation; or

  • unusual or unpleasant taste in your mouth;

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?

Tell your doctor about all other medicines you have used in the past 2 weeks, especially:

This list is not complete. Other drugs may affect albuterol, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Frequently Asked Questions