Medical Services Patients & Visitors Health Information For Medical Professionals Quality About Us
Text Size:  -   +  |  Print Page  |  Email Page

Albuterol (By breathing)

Albuterol (al-BUE-ter-ol)

Treats or prevents bronchospasm. This medicine is a bronchodilator.

Brand Name(s):

Accuneb, Novaplus Ventolin HFA, ProAir HFA, Proair HFA, Proventil, Proventil HFA, ReliOn Ventolin HFA, Ventolin HFA

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

This medicine is not right for everyone. Do not use it if you had an allergic reaction to albuterol.

How to Use This Medicine:

Aerosol, Powder Under Pressure, Solution

  • Take your medicine as directed. This medicine is used with either a metered-dose inhaler or a nebulizer.
  • Solution: You will use this medicine 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.
  • 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.
  • Aerosol: 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.
    • 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. Let it air dry 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. Wash the mouthpiece again and dry it completely.
    • 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.
  • Missed dose: Take a dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then and take a regular dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.
  • Read and follow the patient instructions that come with this medicine. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Some medicines can affect how albuterol works. Tell your doctor if you are also using digoxin, blood pressure medicine, any other inhaled medicine, or a diuretic (water pill). Tell your doctor if you have used medicine for depression or an MAO inhibitor within the past 2 weeks.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you 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 the following problems:
    • Paradoxical bronchospasm (worsening of breathing problems or wheezing; can be life-threatening)
    • Low potassium levels in the blood
  • If you use a corticosteroid medicine to control your asthma, keep using it as ordered by your doctor.
  • Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve or if they get worse.
  • 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.
  • Your doctor will check your progress and the effects of this medicine at regular visits. Keep all appointments.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

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
  • Dry mouth, increased thirst, muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting
  • Fast, pounding, or uneven heartbeat, chest pain
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting
  • Trouble breathing, increased wheezing, cough, chest tightness

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose
  • Headache
  • Tremors, nervousness

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 Updated: 7/4/2014


The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites.
Copyright © 1984- Truven Health Analytics. All rights reserved.

Thomson & A.D.A.M
A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Fire Fox and chrome browser.