Ventolin (Albuterol) Uses
Albuterol (also known as salbutamol) is used to prevent and treat wheezing and shortness of breath caused by breathing problems (such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). It is also used to prevent asthma brought on by exercise. 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 Ventolin (Albuterol) Sulfate 90 Mcg/Actuation Breath Activated Powder Inhaler
Read the Patient Information Leaflet and Instructions for Use provided by your pharmacist before you start using this medication and each time you get a refill. Follow the illustrated directions for the proper use of this medication. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Some brands of this inhaler have a built-in sensor that can store data on its use. This information can be used with a smartphone application (app). Read the manufacturer’s information on how to set up and use the app. You do not have to use the app in order for the inhaler to work. You can review the data and share it with your health care provider if you want to.
Inhale this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually every 4 to 6 hours as needed. The dosage is based on your medical condition 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.
Do not use a spacer with this inhaler and do not open the cap unless you are ready to take a dose.
Before use, hold the inhaler upright and open the cap. You should hear a click, which means the inhaler is ready for use. Place the mouthpiece near your mouth and breathe out as far as is comfortable. Do not breathe into the inhaler device. Then put the mouthpiece in your mouth, close your lips around it, and breathe in steadily and deeply. Hold your breath for about 10 seconds, or for as long as is comfortable. Close the cap after each use.
Clean the outside of the mouthpiece with a dry tissue or cloth as needed. Do not use water or any other liquid for cleaning. If liquid gets into the inhaler, it may not work properly.
If a child is using this medication, a parent or other responsible adult may need to help the child use the inhaler properly.
If you are using other inhalers at the same time, wait at least 1 minute between the use of each medication.
Always have this quick-relief inhaler with you. Keep track of the number of inhalations used from each device. Discard the device after you have used the number of inhalations marked on the manufacturer’s package.
Learn which of your inhalers 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 more often (more than 2 days a week), or if your quick-relief inhaler 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, dizziness, shaking (tremor), headache, nausea, mouth/throat dryness or irritation, or unusual taste 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.
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 very serious side effects, including: chest pain, irregular heartbeat, rapid breathing, confusion.
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.
In the US –
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.
In Canada – Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
Before using albuterol, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to similar drugs (such as levalbuterol, metaproterenol, salmeterol); or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients (such as lactose, milk proteins), which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: heart problems (such as irregular heartbeat, angina, previous heart attack), high blood pressure, seizure.
This drug may make you dizzy. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can make you more dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. Limit alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana (cannabis).
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
It is unknown if this drug passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor’s approval.
If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: chest pain, fast/pounding/irregular heartbeat, seizures.
Do not share this medication with others.
If you are using albuterol regularly and miss a dose, use it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose. Use your next dose at the regular time. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.Information last revised April 2020.
Why is this medication prescribed?
Albuterol is used to prevent and treat difficulty breathing, wheezing, shortness of breath, coughing, and chest tightness caused by lung diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD; a group of diseases that affect the lungs and airways). Albuterol inhalation aerosol and powder for oral inhalation is also used to prevent breathing difficulties during exercise. Albuterol inhalation aerosol (Proair HFA, Proventil HFA, Ventolin HFA) is used in adults and children 4 years of age and older. Albuterol powder for oral inhalation (Proair Respiclick) is used in children 12 years of age and older. Albuterol solution for oral inhalation is used in adults and children 2 years of age and older. Albuterol is in a class of medications called bronchodilators. It works by relaxing and opening air passages to the lungs to make breathing easier.
How should this medicine be used?
Albuterol comes as a solution (liquid) to inhale by mouth using a special jet nebulizer (machine that turns medication into a mist that can be inhaled) and as an aerosol or powder to inhale by mouth using an inhaler. When the inhalation aerosol or powder for oral inhalation is used to treat or prevent symptoms of lung disease, it is usually used every 4 to 6 hours as needed. When the inhalation aerosol or powder for oral inhalation is used to prevent breathing difficulty during exercise, it is usually used 15 to 30 minutes before exercise. The nebulizer solution is usually used three or four times a day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Use albuterol exactly as directed. Do not use more or less of it or use it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Call your doctor if your symptoms worsen or if you feel that albuterol inhalation no longer controls your symptoms. If you were told to use albuterol as needed to treat your symptoms and you find that you need to use the medication more often than usual, call your doctor.
Albuterol controls symptoms of asthma and other lung diseases but does not cure them. Do not stop using albuterol without talking to your doctor.
Each albuterol aerosol inhaler is designed to provide 60 or 200 inhalations, depending on its size. Each albuterol powder inhaler is designed to provide 200 inhalations. After the labeled number of inhalations has been used, later inhalations may not contain the correct amount of medication. Dispose of the aerosol inhaler after you have used the labeled number of inhalations, even if it still contains some liquid and continues to release a spray when it is pressed. Dispose of the powder inhaler 13 months after you open the foil wrapper, after the expiration date on the package, or after you have used the labeled number of inhalation, whichever comes first.
Your inhaler may come with an attached counter that keeps track of the number of inhalations you have used. The counter also tells you when to call your doctor or pharmacist to refill your prescription and when there are no inhalations left in the inhaler. Read the manufacturer’s instructions to learn how to use the counter. If you have this type of inhaler, you should not try to change the numbers or remove the counter from the inhaler.
If your inhaler does not come with an attached counter, you will need to keep track of the number of inhalations you have used. You can divide the number of inhalations in your inhaler by the number of inhalations you use each day to find out how many days your inhaler will last. Do not float the canister in water to see if it still contains medication.
The inhaler that comes with albuterol aerosol is designed for use only with a canister of albuterol. Never use it to inhale any other medication, and do not use any other inhaler to inhale albuterol.
Be careful not to get albuterol inhalation into your eyes.
Do not use your albuterol inhaler when you are near a flame or source of heat. The inhaler may explode if it is exposed to very high temperatures.
Before you use albuterol inhaler or jet nebulizer for the first time, read the written instructions that come with the inhaler or nebulizer. Ask your doctor, pharmacist, or respiratory therapist to show you how to use it. Practice using the inhaler or nebulizer while he or she watches.
If your child will be using the inhaler, be sure that he or she knows how to use it. Watch your child each time he or she uses the inhaler to be sure that he or she is using it correctly.
To inhale the aerosol using an inhaler, follow these steps:
- Remove the protective dust cap from the end of the mouthpiece. If the dust cap was not placed on the mouthpiece, check the mouthpiece for dirt or other objects. Be sure that the canister is fully and firmly inserted in the mouthpiece.
- If you are using the inhaler for the first time or if you have not used the inhaler in more than 14 days, you will need to prime it. You may also need to prime the inhaler if it has been dropped. Ask your pharmacist or check the manufacturer’s information if this happens. To prime the inhaler, shake it well and then press down on the canister 4 times to release 4 sprays into the air, away from your face. Be careful not to get albuterol in your eyes.
- Shake the inhaler well.
- Breathe out as completely as possible through your mouth.
- Hold the canister with the mouthpiece on the bottom, facing you and the canister pointing upward. Place the open end of the mouthpiece into your mouth. Close your lips tightly around the mouthpiece.
- Breathe in slowly and deeply through the mouthpiece.At the same time, press down once on the container to spray the medication into your mouth.
- Try to hold your breath for 10 seconds. remove the inhaler, and breathe out slowly.
- If you were told to use 2 puffs, wait 1 minute and then repeat steps 3-7.
- Replace the protective cap on the inhaler.
- Clean your inhaler regularly. Follow the manufacturer’s directions carefully and ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions about cleaning your inhaler.
To inhale the powder using the inhaler, follow these steps. Do not use the Respiclick inhaler with a spacer:
- If you will be using a new inhaler for the first time, remove it from the foil wrapper. Look at the dose counter at the back of the inhaler and check that you see the number 200 in the window.
- Holding the inhaler upright, with the cap on the bottom and the inhaler pointing upwards, load the dose by opening the protective dust cap at the end of the mouthpiece until it clicks. Do not open the cap unless you are ready to use the inhaler. Every time the protective cap is opened, a dose is ready to inhale. You will see the number in the dose counter go down. Do not waste doses by opening the inhaler unless you are inhaling a dose.
- Breathe out as completely as possible through your mouth. Do not blow or exhale into the inhaler.
- Place the mouthpiece between your lips well into your mouth. Close your lips tightly around the mouthpiece. Inhale slowly and deeply through your mouth. Do not breath in through your nose. Make sure that your fingers or lips do not block the vent above the mouthpiece.
- Remove the inhaler from your mouth and hold your breath for 10 seconds or as long as you comfortably can. Do not blow or exhale through the inhaler.
- Close the cap firmly over the mouthpiece.
- If you are to inhale 2 puffs, repeat steps 2-6.
- Keep the inhaler clean and dry at all times. To clean your inhaler, use a clean, dry tissue or cloth. Do not wash or put any part of your inhaler in water.
To inhale the solution using a nebulizer, follow these steps;
- Remove one vial of albuterol solution from the foil pouch. Leave the rest of the vials in the pouch until you are ready to use them.
- Look at the liquid in the vial. It should be clear and colorless. Do not use the vial if the liquid is cloudy or discolored.
- Twist off the top of the vial and squeeze all of the liquid into the nebulizer reservoir. If you are using your nebulizer to inhale other medications, ask your doctor or pharmacist if you can place the other medications in the reservoir along with albuterol.
- 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 face mask. Sit in an upright, comfortable position and turn on the compressor.
- Breathe in calmly, deeply, and evenly for about 5-15 minutes until mist stops forming in the nebulizer chamber.
- Clean your nebulizer regularly. Follow the manufacturer’s directions carefully and ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions about cleaning your nebulizer.
Other uses for this medicine
Inhaled albuterol is also sometimes used to treat or improve muscle paralysis (inability to move parts of the body) in patients with a condition that causes attacks of paralysis. Talk to your doctor about the possible risks of using this medication for your condition.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before using albuterol inhalation,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to albuterol (Vospire ER, in Combivent, in Duoneb), levalbuterol (Xopenex), any other medications, or any of the ingredients in albuterol inhalation powder or nebulizer solution. If you will be using the inhalation powder, also tell your doctor if you are allergic to milk proteins. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: beta blockers such as atenolol (Tenormin), labetalol (Trandate), metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL), nadolol (Corgard), and propranolol (Inderal); digoxin (Lanoxin); diuretics (‘water pills’); epinephrine (Epipen, Primatene Mist); other inhaled medications used to relax the air passages such as metaproterenol and levalbuterol (Xopenex); and medications for colds. Also tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking the following medications or have stopped taking them within the past 2 weeks: antidepressants such as amitriptyline, amoxapine, clomipramine (Anafranil), desipramine (Norpramin), doxepin (Silenor), imipramine (Tofranil), nortriptyline ( Pamelor), protriptyline (Vivactil), and trimipramine (Surmontil); and monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors, including isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam), and tranylcypromine (Parnate). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had an irregular heartbeat, heart disease, high blood pressure, hyperthyroidism (condition in which there is too much thyroid hormone in the body), diabetes, or seizures.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while using albuterol, call your doctor.
- you should know that albuterol inhalation sometimes causes wheezing and difficulty breathing immediately after it is inhaled. If this happens, call your doctor right away. Do not use albuterol inhalation again unless your doctor tells you that you should.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
If you have been told to use albuterol inhalation on a regular schedule, use the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not use a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Albuterol inhalation may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body
- throat irritation
- muscle, bone, or back pain
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms or those in the SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS section, call your doctor immediately:
- fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat
- chest pain
- swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- increased difficulty breathing
- difficulty swallowing
Albuterol inhalation may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while using this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Keep unused vials of nebulizer solution in the foil pouch until you are ready to use them. Store nebulizer solution vials in the refrigerator or at room temperature away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Store the the inhaler at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Do not puncture the aerosol canister, and do not discard it in an incinerator or fire.
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA’s Safe Disposal of Medicines website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. http://www.upandaway.org
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can’t be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.
Symptoms of overdose may include:
- chest pain
- fast, irregular or pounding heartbeat
- uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body
- dry mouth
- excessive tiredness
- lack of energy
- difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor.
Do not let anyone else use your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
Ventolin is a selective β2-adrenergic receptor agonist. Its therapeutic doses interact with β2-adrenergic receptors in muscles of the bronchi. After inhalation of 10-20% of the administered dose reaches the lower respiratory tract. The medication starts to act 4-5 minutes after inhalation and does for 4-6 hours. Ventolin is used to relief symptoms of asthma, to treat patients with chronic obstructive bronchitis.
Dosage and direction
Do not use the medication more frequently than recommended. Common initial dose for inhalation is 2.5 mg, which later could be increased up to 5 mg. The solution for inhalations must be protected from microbial contamination which could spread to the patient’s mucous. Use proper aseptic techniques each time you open the bottle. Avoid any contact of the dropper tip of the bottle with any surface. Do not use the solution if it changes color or becomes cloudy.
If you noticed that the medication does not help or your symptoms worsened you should check-up with your doctor. Intake of other inhaled drugs and asthma medications should be done only by recommendations of your doctor. Inform your doctor about all allergic reactions you had in history and also about diabetes, heart or blood vessel disease, heart rhythm problems, hypertension, hyperthyroidism, hypokalemia, seizure disorders.
Hypersensitivity to the medication or its components in history.
Possible side effects
The most common side effects are: shakiness in the legs, arms, hands, or feet, trembling or shaking of the hands or feet. More rare side effects include fast, irregular, pounding, or racing heartbeat or pulse palpitations, chest pain, rapid heart rate, and tremor or nervousness.
Ventolin cannot be co-administered with other short-acting sympathomimetic aerosol bronchodilators or used with cautiousness to avoid deleterious cardiovascular effects. Simultaneous use with monoamine oxidase inhibitors or tricyclic antidepressants is contraindicated. Their intake should be administered 2 weeks later after treatment with Ventolin is finished. Beta-adrenergic receptor blocking agents are able to produce severe bronchospasm in patients with asthma and interact block the pulmonary effect of beta-agonists (Ventolin). Beta-agonists worsen hypokalemia caused by nonpotassium-sparing diuretics (such as loop or thiazide diuretics). Ventolin decreases serum levels of digoxin.
If you forgot to take your dose in time, please do it as soon as you remember. But do not take if it is too late or almost time for your next dose. Do not increase your recommended dose. Take your doses at about the same time each day to avoid missing a dose.
Transitory changes induced by β2-adrenergic receptor agonists such as tachicardia, tremor, headache are symptoms of overdose. Severe hypopotassemia appears as result of Ventolin overdose.
Store at room temperature away from moisture, sunlight, kids and pets in a tight container.