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Albuterol (By breathing)

Albuterol (al-BUE-ter-ol)

Treats or prevents bronchospasm.

Brand Name(s):

ProAir HFA, ProAir RespiClick, Proventil HFA, Ventolin HFA

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

This medicine is not right for everyone. Do not use it if you had an allergic reaction to albuterol or milk proteins.

How to Use This Medicine:

Aerosol, Powder Under Pressure, Suspension, Solution, Powder

  • Your doctor will tell you how much medicine to use. Do not use more than directed. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have questions about how to use your inhaler, nebulizer, or medicine.
  • ProAir® HFA and Proventil® HFA aerosol inhaler:
    • You will use this medicine with a device called a metered-dose inhaler. The inhaler fits on the medicine canister and turns the medicine into a fine spray that you breathe in through your mouth and to your lungs. You may be told to use a spacer, which is a tube that is placed between the inhaler and your mouth. Your caregiver will show you how to use your inhaler and the spacer (if needed).
    • Shake the inhaler well just before each use. Avoid spraying this medicine into your eyes.
    • Remove the cap and look at the mouthpiece to make sure it is clean.
    • Prime the inhaler the first time you use it. Point the inhaler away from your face. Shake it well and spray into the air 3 times for ProAir® HFA or 4 times for Proventil® HFA . You also need to prime it when you have not used the inhaler for more than 2 weeks.
    • To inhale this medicine, breathe out fully, trying to get as much air out of the lungs as possible. Put the mouthpiece just in front of your mouth with the canister upright.
    • Hold your breath for about 5 to 10 seconds, and then breathe out slowly.
    • If you are supposed to use more than one puff, wait 1 to 2 minutes before inhaling the second puff. Repeat these steps for the next puff, starting with shaking the inhaler.
    • Clean the inhaler mouthpiece at least once a week with warm running water for 30 seconds. Let it air dry completely. Do not clean the metal canister or let it get wet.
    • The Proventil® HFA inhaler has a window that shows the number of doses remaining. This tells you when you are getting low on medicine. The counter will turn red when there are only 20 doses left, to remind you to refill your prescription.
  • ProAir® Respiclick® inhaler:
    • Make sure the cap is closed. Do not open the cap unless you are going to use the medicine.
    • Hold the inhaler upright. Open the cap fully until you hear a click. Your inhaler is now ready to use.
    • Close the cap firmly over the mouthpiece after each use.
    • Keep the inhaler clean and dry at all times. Do not wash or put any part of the inhaler in water.
    • To clean the mouthpiece, wipe it gently with a dry cloth or tissue.
  • Solution:
    • You will use this medicine with an inhaler device called a nebulizer. The nebulizer turns the medicine into a fine mist that you breathe in through your mouth and to your lungs. Your caregiver will show you how to use your nebulizer.
  • Read and follow the patient instructions that come with this medicine. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
  • Missed dose: Take a dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then and take a regular dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.
  • Solution (for nebulizer): Store unopened vials of this medicine at room temperature, away from heat and direct light. Do not freeze. An open vial of medicine must be used right away.
  • ProAir® HFA and Proventil® HFA aerosol inhaler: Store the canister at room temperature, away from heat and direct light. Do not freeze. Do not keep this medicine inside a car where it could be exposed to extreme heat or cold. Do not poke holes in the canister or throw it into a fire, even if the canister is empty. Store the inhaler with the mouthpiece down.
  • ProAir® Respiclick® inhaler: Keep the medicine in the foil pouch until you are ready to use it. Store at room temperature, away from heat and direct light. Do not freeze.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Some medicines can affect how albuterol works. Tell your doctor if you are using any of the following:
    • Digoxin
    • Beta-blocker medicine
    • Diuretic (water pill)
    • Medicine for depression or an MAO inhibitor within the past 2 weeks

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have kidney disease, diabetes, heart disease, heart rhythm problems, high blood pressure, thyroid problems, or a history of seizures.
  • This medicine may cause increased trouble breathing right after use (paradoxical bronchospasm), which may be life-threatening.
  • If you use a corticosteroid medicine to control your asthma, keep using it as instructed by your doctor.
  • Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve or if they get worse.
  • If any of your asthma medicines do not seem to be working as well as usual, call your doctor right away. Do not change your doses or stop using your medicines without asking your doctor.
  • Your doctor will check your progress and the effects of this medicine at regular visits. Keep all appointments.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Chest pain, fast, pounding, or uneven heartbeat
  • Dry mouth, increased thirst, muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting
  • Trouble breathing, cough, chest tightness

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Headache
  • Runny or stuffy nose, sore throat
  • Tremors, nervousness

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088


Last Updated: 12/4/2017
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