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Maxair Autohaler Side Effects

Generic name: pirbuterol

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Dec 2, 2023.

Note: This document contains side effect information about pirbuterol. Some dosage forms listed on this page may not apply to the brand name Maxair Autohaler.

Applies to pirbuterol: inhalation aerosol.


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.

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction while taking pirbuterol (the active ingredient contained in Maxair Autohaler) hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

Common side effects may include:

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to pirbuterol: inhalation aerosol.


Cardiovascular side effects have included palpitations and peripheral vasodilation, commonly resulting in reflex tachycardia. Blood pressure may increase or decrease. Higher doses may rarely aggravate angina, myocardial ischemia, or cause atrial or ventricular arrhythmias.[Ref]

Although most studies have not revealed a significant effect of pirbuterol on blood pressure or heart rate, anecdotally significant increases have been noted. Aggravation of angina may be due to tachycardia produced by pirbuterol. Supraventricular premature beats and ventricular tachycardia have also been reported. Higher doses of pirbuterol 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.[Ref]


Musculoskeletal side effects have included tremors, especially at higher doses.[Ref]


Gastrointestinal side effects have included nausea, dry mouth, and diarrhea.[Ref]


Metabolic side effects have included hypokalemia and, less commonly, hyperglycemia.[Ref]

Nervous system

Nervous system side effects have included nervousness, dizziness, insomnia, and headache.[Ref]


Respiratory side effects have included cough. Rare instances of paradoxical bronchoconstriction have been associated with the use of pirbuterol (the active ingredient contained in Maxair Autohaler) [Ref]


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2. Littner MR, Tashkin DP, Calvarese B, Bautista M. Acute bronchial and cardiovascular effects of increasing doses of pirbuterol acetate aerosol in asthma. Ann Allergy. 1982;48:14-20.

3. Chodosh S, Crooks LA, Tuck J. Comparative effects of pirbuterol acetate, metaproterenol, and placebo aerosols on pulmonary function and incidence of cardiac ectopy. J Asthma. 1989;26:309-15.

4. Beumer HM. Long-term treatment of bronchial asthma with pirbuterol aerosol. Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther Toxicol. 1983;21:172-5.

5. Beumer HM. Pirbuterol versus orciprenaline aerosols in the treatment of bronchial asthma. Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther Toxicol. 1983;21:147-66.

6. Product Information. Maxair (pirbuterol). 3M Pharmaceuticals. 2001;PROD.

7. Tinkelman DG, Brandon ML, Grieco M, Hudson L, Rosenthal RR, Spector SL, Tashkin D, Votteri B. Comparison of safety and efficacy of inhaled pirbuterol with metaproterenol. Ann Allergy. 1990;64:202-6.

8. Windom H, Grainger J, Burgess C, Crane J, Pearce N, Beasley R. A comparison of the haemodynamic and hypokalaemic effects of inhaled pirbuterol and salbutamol. N Z Med J. 1990;103:259-61.

Further information

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

Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.