Albuterol (also known as salbutamol) is used to treat wheezing and shortness of breath caused by breathing problems such as asthma. It is a quick-relief medication. Albuterol belongs to a class of drugs known as bronchodilators. It works by relaxing the muscles around the airways so that they open up and you can breathe more easily. Controlling symptoms of breathing problems can decrease time lost from work or school.
How to use albuterol sulfate inhalation
Read the Patient Information Leaflet provided by your pharmacist before you start using this medication and each time you get a refill. This medication is used with a special machine called a nebulizer that changes the solution to a fine mist that you inhale. Learn all instructions for the use of this medication and the nebulizer. If a child is using this medication, a parent or other responsible adult should supervise the child. If you have any questions, consult your doctor, pharmacist, or respiratory therapist.
This product should be clear and colorless to light yellow. Before using, check this product visually for particles or discoloration. If either is present, do not use the liquid. Use the dropper supplied by the manufacturer to carefully measure the prescribed amount of medication and place in the nebulizer with sterile saline as directed. If you are using the single dose package, empty the contents of the package in the nebulizer and add sterile saline as directed. Gently swirl the nebulizer to mix the solution.
Do not rinse the dropper. Replace the dropper and tightly close the bottle after each use. To avoid contamination, do not touch the dropper tip or let it touch any other surface. Discard any unused mixed solution. Do not save for future use.
Using a mouthpiece or face mask with the nebulizer, inhale the prescribed dose of medication into your lungs as directed by your doctor, usually 3 or 4 times daily as needed. Each treatment usually takes about 5 to 15 minutes. Use this medication only through a nebulizer. Do not swallow or inject the solution. Do not mix with other medicines in your nebulizer. To prevent infections, clean the nebulizer and mouthpiece/face mask according to the manufacturer’s directions.
Dosage is based on your medical condition, age, weight, and response to treatment. Do not increase your dose or use this drug more often than prescribed without your doctor’s approval. Using too much of this medication will increase your risk of serious (possibly fatal) side effects.
Learn which of your inhalers/medications you should use every day (controller drugs) and which you should use if your breathing suddenly worsens (quick-relief drugs). Ask your doctor ahead of time what you should do if you have new or worsening cough or shortness of breath, wheezing, increased sputum, worsening peak flow meter readings, waking up at night with trouble breathing, if you use your quick-relief inhaler/medication more often (more than 2 days a week), or if your quick-relief inhaler/medication does not seem to be working well. Learn when you can treat sudden breathing problems by yourself and when you must get medical help right away.
Tell your doctor if your symptoms do not improve or if they worsen.
Nervousness, shaking (tremor), headache, nausea or dizziness may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
This medication may raise your blood pressure. Check your blood pressure regularly and tell your doctor if the results are high.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: fast/pounding heartbeat.
Get medical help right away if you have any rare but very serious side effects, including: chest pain, irregular heartbeat, rapid breathing, confusion.
Rarely, this medication has caused severe (rarely fatal), sudden worsening of breathing problems/asthma (paradoxical bronchospasm). If you experience sudden wheezing, get medical help right away.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.