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Terbutaline (oral/injection)

Generic Name: terbutaline (oral/injection) (ter BUE ta leen )
Brand Name:

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com on Mar 15, 2020 – Written by Cerner Multum

What is terbutaline?

Terbutaline is a bronchodilator that is used to treat or prevent bronchospasm (wheezing, chest tightness, trouble breathing) in people with lung conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, or emphysema.

Terbutaline is for use in adults and children at least 12 years old.

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

Important Information

Terbutaline is not safe to use in a pregnant woman to prevent premature labor.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use terbutaline if you are allergic to it, or if you have ever had an allergic reaction to decongestant cold medicine or medicine to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (such as Ritalin, Adderall, Vyvanse, and others).

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Terbutaline is not safe to use in a pregnant woman to prevent premature labor.

Terbutaline is not approved for use by anyone younger than 12 years old.

How should I use terbutaline?

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

Terbutaline oral is taken by mouth.

Terbutaline injection is injected under the skin. A healthcare provider will give you this injection. Terbutaline injection is usually given for only a short time, to reverse bronchospasm quickly.

Your doctor may prescribe other medications to treat your condition. Use all medications as directed. Do not change your doses or medication schedule without your doctor's advice.

Seek medical attention if your breathing problems get worse quickly, or if you think your asthma medications are not working as well.

Store terbutaline oral at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not take two doses at one time.

Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

Overdose symptoms may include chest pain, fast or irregular heartbeats, trouble sleeping, tiredness, a seizure, or fainting.

What should I avoid while using terbutaline?

Avoid situations that may worsen your respiratory condition such as exercising in cold, dry air; smoking; breathing in dust; and exposure to allergens such as pet fur.

Terbutaline side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: 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 terbutaline;

  • chest pain, fast heart rate;

  • pounding heartbeats or fluttering in your chest;

  • a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;

  • a seizure;

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

  • tremors; or

  • worsening or no improvement in your symptoms.

Common side effects may include:

  • fast or pounding heartbeats;

  • chest pain;

  • nervousness, tremor;

  • drowsiness; or

  • headache.

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 terbutaline?

Tell your doctor about all other medicines you have used in the past 14 days, especially:

This list is not complete. Other drugs may affect terbutaline, 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.