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Medication Detail

image of medication detailed on this page

Medication Type

Quick Relief, Rescue inhaler; not recommended for everyday use

Generic Names


Brand Names

Ventolin® HFA, Proventil® HFA, Proair® HFA, ProAir® RespiClick


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.


MDI (metered dose inhaler), DPI (dry powder inhaler), tablet, oral syrup, nebulization mist


  • Ventolin HFA, Proventil® HFA, and ProAir® HFA can be used with a spacer.
  • ProAir® RespiClick and ProAir® Digihaler cannot be used with a spacer.


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 every 4 to 6 hours as needed
  • Note: the oral tablets and syrup are not preferred for acute attacks
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)
    • Infants: 2 to 4 puffs every 20 minutes for 2 to 3 doses, then administer 2 to 6 puffs every 3 to 4 hours for 24-48 hours or as needed.
    • Children and adolescents: 2 to 4 inhalations every 20 minutes for 2 to 3 doses during the first hour then administer 2 to 6 inhalations every 3 to 4 hours for 24 to 48 hours or as needed.
  • Nebulization
    • Infants and up to 4 years old: 1.25 to 2.5mg every 20 minutes for 3 doses if needed; may change to every 3 to 4 hours if responding
    • Children older than 4 to less than 12 years: 2.5 to 5mg every 20 minutes for 3 doses if needed; may change to every 3 to 4 hours if responding
    • Children 12 years and older: 2.5 mg every 20 minutes for the first hour if needed; may change to every 3 to 4 hours if responding
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

For proper inhaler technique visit our inhaler page.

Ventolin® HFA, Proventil® HFA, Proair® HFA: Shake well before use, avoid spraying in the eyes; prepare (also called “prime”) before first use, if it has not been used for 2 weeks, or if the inhaler is dropped, by spraying 4 test sprays into the air away from the face (only spray 3 test sprays with ProAir HFA). 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. A spacer device or valved holding chamber is recommended when using a metered-dose inhaler in young children.

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 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 it reaches 20 it is time for a refill. Discard device 13 months after you remove it from the foil pouch or when the dose counter reads “0” (whichever comes first).

Nebulization 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 mask and breathe in calmly and deeply for 5 to 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.


Talk with your doctor if you have heart disease (including high blood pressure), glaucoma, 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, 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 the bathroom

Inhalers: Keep HFA inhaler away from open flame. Do not puncture canister. Do not store in extreme temperatures, such as in a parked car.

Ventolin® HFA, Proventil® HFA, Proair® HFA: should be cleaned with warm water at least once per week; allow to air dry completely before use.

Respiclick and Digihaler: Keep inhaler clean and dry by wiping with a dry cloth or tissue as needed; do not wash or put any part of inhaler in water.

Nebulization 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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