Albuterol (By breathing)
Treats or prevents bronchospasm in patients with asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, and other lung diseases. Also prevents wheezing caused by exercise (exercise-induced bronchospasm). This medicine is a bronchodilator.
ProAir HFA, Proventil HFA, Accuneb, Ventolin HFA, Proventil, Proair HFA, ReliOn Ventolin HFA, Novaplus Ventolin HFA
There may be other brand names for this medicine.
When This Medicine Should Not Be Used
You or your child should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to albuterol.
How to Use This Medicine
Aerosol, Powder Under Pressure, Solution
- Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to. This medicine is given with either a metered-dose inhaler or as a solution in a nebulizer.
- You will use the solution form with an inhaler device called a nebulizer. The nebulizer turns the medicine into a fine mist that you breathe in through your mouth and to your lungs. Your caregiver will show you how to use your nebulizer.
- You will use this medicine with a device called a metered-dose inhaler. The inhaler fits on the medicine canister and turns the medicine into a fine spray that you breathe in through your mouth and to your lungs. You may be told to use a spacer, which is a tube that is placed between the inhaler and your mouth. Your caregiver will show you how to use your inhaler and the spacer (if needed).
- To use the inhaler:
- Remove the cap and look at the mouthpiece to make sure it is clean.
- Shake the inhaler well just before each use. Avoid spraying this medicine into your eyes.
- Test spray in the air before using for the first time or if the inhaler has not been used for a while.
- To inhale this medicine, breathe out fully, trying to get as much air out of the lungs as possible. Put the mouthpiece just in front of your mouth with the canister upright.
- Open your mouth and breathe in slowly and deeply (like yawning), and at the same time firmly press down on the top of the canister once.
- Hold your breath for about 5 to 10 seconds, then breathe out slowly.
- If you are supposed to use more than one puff, wait 1 to 2 minutes before inhaling the second puff. Repeat these steps for the next puff, starting with shaking the inhaler.
- When you have finished all your inhalations, rinse your mouth out with water.
- Clean the inhaler mouthpiece at least once a week with warm running water for 30 seconds, and dry it completely.
- If you need to use the inhaler before it is completely dry, shake off the excess water, replace the canister, and spray it 2 times in the air away from the face. Use your regular dose.
- After using the inhaler, wash the mouthpiece again and dry it completely.
- If the mouthpiece becomes blocked, washing it will help.
- This medicine comes with patient instructions. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
If a dose is missed:
- If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to use the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.
How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine
- Store the canister at room temperature, away from heat and direct light. Do not freeze. Do not keep this medicine inside a car where it could be exposed to extreme heat or cold. Do not poke holes in the canister or throw it into a fire, even if the canister is empty.
- Store unopened vials of this medicine at room temperature, away from heat and direct light. Do not freeze. An open vial of medicine must be used right away.
- Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of the used medicine container and any leftover medicine. You will also need to throw away old medicine after the expiration date has passed.
- Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.
Drugs and Foods to Avoid
Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
- Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using digoxin (Lanoxin®), certain blood pressure medicines (such as atenolol, metoprolol, propranolol, Inderal®, Lopressor®, Tenormin®, or Toprol®), or diuretics or "water pills" (such as furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide [HCTZ], Dyazide®, Hyzaar®, Lasix®, or Maxzide®). Tell your doctor if you have used medicine for depression (such as amitriptyline, fluoxetine, nortriptyline, Elavil®, Pamelor®, Prozac®, Sarafem®, or Vivactil®) or an MAO inhibitor (such as isocarboxazid, phenelzine, selegiline, tranylcypromine, Eldepryl®, Marplan®, Nardil®, or Parnate®) within the past 2 weeks.
- This medicine should not be used together with other inhaled medicines that are similar, such as isoproterenol (Isuprel®), levalbuterol (Xopenex?), metaproterenol (Alupent®), pirbuterol (Maxair®), or terbutaline (Brethaire®).
Warnings While Using This Medicine
- Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you or your child have kidney disease, diabetes, heart disease, heart rhythm problems, high blood pressure, overactive thyroid, low potassium in the blood, or a history of seizures.
- This medicine may cause paradoxical bronchospasm, which means your breathing or wheezing will get worse. Paradoxical bronchospasm may be life-threatening. Stop using this medicine and check with your doctor right away if you or your child have coughing, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, or wheezing after using this medicine.
- Your doctor may order other medicines for you to take to control your asthma or emphysema. Take all of your medicines as your doctor ordered. If you use any type of corticosteroid medicine to control your asthma, keep using it as ordered by your doctor. This includes corticosteroid medicines that are taken by mouth or inhaled (such as cortisone, prednisone, Azmacort®, Celestone®, Cortone®, Deltasone®, Flovent®, Prelone® Pediapred®, Vanceril®).
- If your symptoms do not improve or if they get worse, call your doctor.
- If any of your asthma medicines do not seem to be working as well as usual, call your doctor right away. Do not change your doses or stop using your medicines without asking your doctor.
- This medicine may cause serious types of allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Stop using this medicine and check with your doctor right away if you or your child develop a skin rash, hives, itching, trouble breathing, trouble swallowing, or any swelling of your hands, face, or mouth while you are using this medicine.
- Hypokalemia (low potassium in the blood) may occur while you are using this medicine. Check with your doctor right away if you or your child have more than one of the following symptoms: convulsions; decreased urine; dry mouth; increased thirst; irregular heartbeat; loss of appetite; mood changes; muscle pain or cramps; nausea or vomiting; numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, or lips; shortness of breath; or unusual tiredness or weakness.
- Your doctor will need to check your progress at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments.
Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine
Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:
- Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
- Chest pain or shortness of breath.
- Cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose.
- Dry mouth, increased thirst, muscle cramps, nausea or vomiting.
- Fast, pounding, or uneven heartbeat.
- Lightheadedness or fainting.
- Seizures or tremors.
- Troubled breathing.
- Worsening of breathing problems.
If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:
- Headache or dizziness.
- Muscle or joint pain.
- Skin rash.
- Trouble sleeping.
If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088
- Last Reviewed on 06/12/2013
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This page was last updated: September 18, 2013