Albuterol belongs to a group of medications known as bronchodilators, which are utilized to prevent and manage symptoms such as wheezing, chest tightness, coughing, and difficulty breathing caused by lung diseases like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This medication operates by relaxing and widening the air passages to the lungs, which helps to facilitate breathing.
Uses and Dosage
To use the canister properly, shake it well before use. If it’s your first time using it, or you haven’t used it in 2 weeks or more, or if the inhaler has been dropped, follow the instructions for test sprays in the air. A fine mist indicates that the inhaler is functioning correctly. Do not spray the medication in your eyes.
To take this medication, inhale it by mouth as instructed by your doctor, usually every 4 to 6 hours as needed. The dosage is determined based on your medical condition and response to treatment. Do not increase the dose or use this drug more frequently than prescribed without your doctor’s permission, as using too much can lead to severe and potentially fatal side effects.
If you are using this medication to prevent asthma brought on by exercise, inhale it as directed by your doctor, usually 2 puffs 15 to 30 minutes before exercise.
Use a spacer device with this medication. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
If two inhalations are prescribed, wait at least 1 minute between them. If you are using other inhalers concurrently, wait at least 1 minute between each medication use.
Always carry this quick-relief inhaler with you. Keep track of the number of inhalations used, and dispose of the inhaler once you’ve used the labeled number of inhalations indicated on the product package. Remember to also count the test sprays used to prime the inhaler.
Learn from your doctor which inhalers you should use every day (controller drugs) and which you should use if your breathing suddenly worsens (quick-relief drugs). Determine when you can treat sudden breathing problems on your own and when you must seek medical attention immediately.
If your symptoms do not improve or worsen, notify your doctor.
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention:
- uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body
- muscle cramps
- excessive motion or activity
- sudden changes in mood
- increased or decreased appetite
- difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- pale skin
Inform your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any serious side effects:
- fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat
- chest pain
- blisters or rash
- swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- increased difficulty breathing
- difficulty swallowing
Inform your doctor or pharmacist of any allergies you may have before using albuterol, including allergies to similar drugs like levalbuterol, metaproterenol, or terbutaline. This product may contain inactive ingredients that can cause allergic reactions or other problems, so speak with your pharmacist for more information.
Prior to using this medication, disclose your medical history to your doctor or pharmacist, particularly any heart problems such as irregular heartbeat, angina, or heart attack, high blood pressure, or seizures.
This drug may cause dizziness, and consuming alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) may exacerbate this effect. Until you can perform tasks safely, avoid driving, using machinery, or performing any activity that requires alertness. Limit your intake of alcoholic beverages and discuss your use of marijuana with your doctor.
If you are pregnant, use this medication only if it is clearly necessary, and discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
It is not known whether this medication passes into breast milk. Prior to breastfeeding, consult your doctor for guidance.
Form and Strength
Ventolin is available in the following forms and strengths:
Is a Ventolin inhaler a steroid?
No, Ventolin does not contain steroids.
Is it OK to use Ventolin for coughing?
Usually Ventolin inhalers are only used to treat the breathing symptoms of a different condition. If however you have irritated your lungs by coughing over a long period of time then the Ventolin inhaler can help to suppress the need to cough, allowing your lungs to recover.