ALBUTEROL (al BYOO ter ole) treats lung diseases, such as asthma, where the airways in the lungs narrow, causing breathing problems or wheezing (bronchospasm). It is also used to treat asthma or prevent breathing problems during exercise. This medication works by opening the airways of the lungs, making it easier to breathe. It is often called a rescue- or quick-relief inhaler.
What should I tell my care team before I take this medication?
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
Diabetes (high blood sugar)
High blood pressure
Irregular heartbeat or rhythm
An unusual or allergic reaction to albuterol, other medications, foods, dyes, or preservatives
Pregnant or trying to get pregnant
How should I use this medication?
This medication is inhaled through the mouth. Take it as directed on the prescription label. Do not use it more often than directed.
This medication comes with INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE. Ask your pharmacist for directions on how to use this medication. Read the information carefully. Talk to your pharmacist or care team if you have questions.
Talk to your care team about the use of this medication in children. While it may be given to children for selected conditions, precautions do apply.
What if I miss a dose?
If you take this medication on a regular basis, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.
What may interact with this medication?
Medications for colds
Medications for depression or for emotional or psychotic conditions
Medications for weight loss including some herbal products
Some antibiotics like clarithromycin, erythromycin, levofloxacin, and linezolid
Some heart medications
Steroid hormones like dexamethasone, cortisone, hydrocortisone
What side effects may I notice from receiving this medication?
Side effects that you should report to your care team as soon as possible:
Allergic reactions—skin rash, itching, hives, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
Heart rhythm changes—fast or irregular heartbeat, dizziness, feeling faint or lightheaded, chest pain, trouble breathing
Increase in blood pressure
Muscle pain or cramps
Wheezing or trouble breathing that is worse after use
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your care team if they continue or are bothersome):
Change in taste
Tremors or shaking
What should I watch for while using this medication?
Visit your care team for regular checks on your progress. Tell your care team if your symptoms do not start to get better or if they get worse.
If your symptoms get worse or if you are using this medication more than normal, call your care team right away.
Do not treat yourself for coughs, colds or allergies without asking your care team for advice. Some nonprescription medications can affect this one.
You and your care team should develop an Asthma Action Plan that is just for you. Be sure to know what to do if you are in the yellow (asthma is getting worse) or red (medical alert) zones.
Your mouth may get dry. Chewing sugarless gum or sucking hard candy and drinking plenty of water may help. Contact your health care provider if the problem does not go away or is severe.
Where should I keep my medication?
Keep out of the reach of children and pets.
Store at room temperature between 20 and 25 degrees C (68 and 77 degrees F). Keep inhaler away from extreme heat and cold. Get rid of it when the dose counter reads 0 or after the expiration date, whichever is first.
To get rid of medications that are no longer needed or have expired:
Take the medication to a medication take-back program. Check with your pharmacy or law enforcement to find a location.
If you cannot return the medication, ask your care team how to get rid of this medication safely.
K Health articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.
This information is educational only and should not be construed as specific instructions for individual patients nor as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Talk to your health care provider or pharmacist about the information and instructions. K Health assumes no liability for any use or reliance on this information.