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Medication Detail

image of medication detailed on this page

Medication Type

Quick Relief, not recommended for everyday use

Generic Names

Albuterol

Brand Names

Ventolin® HFA, Proventil® HFA, Proair® HFA, VoSpire ER®, ProAir® RespiClick, AccuNeb

Description

This medication is an inhaler or nebulized solution that is used for quick relief from asthma symptoms and for treating asthma attacks. It causes muscles around the airways to relax, opening them for easier breathing.

Delivery

Tablet, extended release oral tablet, oral syrup, MDI (metered dose inhaler), DPI (dry powder inhaler), nebulized mist

Spacer

  • Ventolin HFA can be used with a spacer.
  • Proventil® HFA can be used with a spacer.
  • Proair® HFA can be used with a spacer.
  • ProAir® RespiClick cannot be used with a spacer.

Dosage

Adult Dosing

Asthma attack or relief from symptoms
  • Aerosol (inhaler) – 1 to 2 puffs every 4 to 6 hours as needed; maximum 12 puffs in 24 hours
  • Nebulized solution –2.5 mg in nebulizer over 5 to 15 minutes 3 to 4 times daily as needed; maximum 4 doses in 24 hours
Not preferred for acute attacks:
  • Oral (tablets or syrup) – 2 to 4 mg 3 to 4 times a day; maximum 32 mg/day
  • Oral (extended-release tablets) – 4-to 8 mg every 12 hours; maximum 32 mg/day
Prevention of exercise-induced asthma
  • Aerosol (inhaler) – 2 puffs 5 to 30 minutes before exercising
Pediatric Dosing
Asthma attack or treatment of symptoms
  • Aerosol inhaler
    • Children 4 years of age and older: 1 to 2 puffs every 4 to 6 hours as needed, maximum 12 inhalations daily
  • Nebulized solution
    • Children 2 to 12 years: 0.63 to 2.5 mg in nebulizer over 5 to 15 minutes 3 to 4 times daily as needed
    • Children older than 12 years old: 2.5 mg in nebulizer over 5 to 15 minutes 3 to 4 times daily as needed
Not preferred for acute attacks:
  • Oral (syrup)
    • Children 2 to 5 years: 0.1 to 0.2 mg/kg 3 times a day (maximum 12 mg per day)
    • Children 6 to 14 years: 2 mg 3 to 4 times a day (maximum 24 mg per day)
    • Children 15 years and older: 2 to 4 mg 3 to 4 times a day
  • Oral (immediate release tablet)
    • Children 6 to 12 years: 2 mg 3 to 4 times a day
    • Children 13 years and older: 2 to 4 mg 3 to 4 times a day
  • Oral (extended-release tablets)
    • Children 6 to 12 years: 4 mg every 12 hours (maximum 8 mg/day)
    • Children 13 years and older: 8 mg every 12 hours (maximum 16 mg/day)
Prevention of exercise-induced asthma
  • Aerosol (inhaler)
    • Children 5 years of age and older: 2 puffs 5 to 30 minutes prior to exercise
Your provider may use different dosing, especially if you are prone to severe asthma attacks. Follow the dosing and directions your provider gives you.

Get help right away if you cannot get your asthma attack under control.

Proper Use

  • Oral forms (tablets or syrup) should be taken with food. Do not chew or crush extended release tablets.
  • Inhaler: Shake well before use, avoid spraying in the eyes; prepare before first use or if it has not been used for 2 weeks by spraying 4 test sprays into the air away from the face (only spray 3 test sprays with ProAir HFA). Clean actuator (mouthpiece) weekly. A spacer device or valved holding chamber is recommended when using a metered-dose inhaler. Breathe out and place the open end of the mouthpiece into your mouth. Close lips around mouthpiece. Breathe in slowly and deeply through the mouthpiece while pressing down once on the canister to spray the medication. Remove the inhaler and hold your breath for 10 seconds then breathe out slowly. Wait 1 minute between each puff if you need multiple puffs.
  • For proper inhaler technique visit our inhaler page.
  • Do not use the "float test" to test if canister is empty. Use dose counter to check number of doses remaining in the inhaler.
  • ProAir RespiClick: After removing from box and foil pouch, write the "Use by" date on the RespiClick label. The "Use by" date is 13 months after opening the pouch. Do not shake the inhaler. When you are ready to use the inhaler, hold it upright and open the cap until you hear a "click". If you do not hear a "click", the dose is not ready. Every time the mouthpiece cap is opened and closed, the dose counter will count down. Do not open the inhaler until you are ready to use a dose. Breathe out fully but not into the inhaler. Put the mouthpiece in your mouth and close your lips tightly around it. Do not block the vent above the mouthpiece with your lips or fingers. Breathe in quickly and deeply and then remove the inhaler from your mouth. Hold your breath for 10 seconds or as long as comfortable for you. Breathe out slowly and replace the cap over the mouthpiece. The dose indicator tells you how many doses are left. When the numbers 20 to 0 appear in red, only a few doses remain. Discard device 13 months after you remove it from the foil pouch or when the dose counter reads "0" (whichever comes first).
  • Nebulized solution: Remove one vial of solution from foil pouch, but leave the rest of the vials in the foil pouch until you are ready to use them. Make sure the liquid is clear and colorless. Do not use if it is cloudy or colored. Twist the top off the vial and squeeze the liquid into the nebulizer reservoir. Connect the nebulizer reservoir to the mouthpiece or face mask. Connect the nebulizer to the compressor. Place the mouthpiece in your mouth or put on the mast and breathe in calmly and deeply for 5-15 minutes until mist stops forming in the nebulizer chamber. Clean your nebulizer according to manufacturer’s instructions after use.
  • For information on the correct use of nebulizers, visit our nebulizer page.

Precautions

Talk with your doctor if you have heart disease (including high blood pressure), diabetes, hyperthyroidism, history of seizures, or do not respond well to this class of medication.

Common Interactions

Some of the medications that interact with albuterol are propranolol and other Beta blockers (atenolol, carvedilol, nadolol, penbutolol, pindolol, sotalol), amiodarone, citalopram, and other medications.

Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your medications and health problems so they can check for any interactions.

Possible Side Effects

Possible side effects include: feeling nervous or shaky, headache, dizziness, upset stomach, sore throat, or runny nose.

Tell your doctor or seek medical attention if you notice chest pain, an irregular heartbeat, a very bad headache, extreme dizziness, fainting, or have a low peak flow measurement.

Proper Storage

  • Store all products at room temperature.
  • Protect from heat, light, and water.
  • Do not store in a bathroom.
  • Inhaler: Keep HFA inhaler away from open flame. Do not puncture canister. Do not store in extreme temperatures, such as in a parked car.
  • • Nebulized solution: Do not use solution for nebulizer if it is cloudy or changes color. Use within 1 week after removing from foil pouch.


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