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Proventil (oral)

Generic Name: albuterol (oral) (al BYOO teh rall)
Brand Name: Proventil, VoSpire ER

Medically reviewed on March 8, 2018

The Proventil brand name has been discontinued in the U.S. If generic versions of this product have been approved by the FDA, there may be generic equivalents available.

What is albuterol?

Albuterol is a bronchodilator that relaxes muscles in the airways and increases air flow to the lungs.

Albuterol is used to treat bronchospasm (wheezing, shortness of breath) caused by reversible obstructive airway disease in adults and children who are at least 6 years old.

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

Important Information

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

Before you take albuterol, tell your doctor if you have heart disease, high blood pressure, a heart rhythm disorder, seizures, diabetes, or overactive thyroid.

Tell your doctor if you have used an MAO inhibitor such as furazolidone (Furoxone), isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), rasagiline (Azilect), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam, Zelapar), or tranylcypromine (Parnate) in the last 14 days.

Do not take albuterol in larger amounts than recommended by your doctor. An overdose of albuterol can be fatal.

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

Call your doctor right away if you feel that this medicine is not working as well as usual, or if it makes your condition worse. If it seems like you need to use more of any of your medications in a 24-hour period, talk with your doctor.

Breathing disorders are sometimes 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. You should remain under the care of a doctor while you are using albuterol.

Before taking this medicine

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

To make sure you can safely take albuterol, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:

  • heart disease, high blood pressure;

  • a heart rhythm disorder;

  • epilepsy or other seizure disorder;

  • diabetes; or

  • overactive thyroid.

Tell your doctor if you have used an MAO inhibitor such as furazolidone (Furoxone), isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), rasagiline (Azilect), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam, Zelapar), or tranylcypromine (Parnate) in the last 14 days.

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether albuterol will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medication.

It is not known whether albuterol passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are using albuterol.

How should I take albuterol?

Take exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

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

Do not crush, chew, or break an extended-release tablet. Swallow it whole. Breaking the pill may cause too much of the drug to be released at one time.

Measure liquid medicine with a special dose-measuring spoon or medicine cup, not with a regular table spoon. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.

Asthma or bronchospasm is sometimes 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. You should remain under the care of a doctor while you are using albuterol.

Call your doctor right away if you feel that this medicine is not working as well as usual, or if it makes your condition worse. If it seems like you need to use more of any of your medications in a 24-hour period, talk with your doctor.

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

Do not allow the liquid form of this medicine to 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.

Overdose symptoms may include severe forms of some of the side effects listed in this medication guide.

What should I avoid while taking albuterol?

Avoid taking diet pills or cold medicine that contains a decongestant (phenylephrine, pseudoephedrine). Taking these medications together with albuterol may cause unpleasant side effects.

Albuterol side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using albuterol and call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • new bronchospasm or worsening of your asthma symptoms;

  • pounding heartbeats or fluttering in your chest;

  • chest pain, tremor, nervousness;

  • seizure (convulsions);

  • low potassium (confusion, uneven heart rate, extreme thirst, increased urination, leg discomfort, muscle weakness or limp feeling);

  • dangerously high blood pressure (severe headache, blurred vision, buzzing in your ears, anxiety, confusion, chest pain, shortness of breath, uneven heartbeats); or

  • severe skin reaction -- fever, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain, followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • dizziness, spinning sensation;

  • headache;

  • sleep problems (insomnia);

  • muscle cramps;

  • dry mouth and throat;

  • unusual taste in your mouth; or

  • nausea.

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.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

What other drugs will affect albuterol?

Tell your doctor about all other medicines you use, especially:

This list is not complete and other drugs may interact with albuterol. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

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.

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