Health Guide

Terbutaline (By injection)

Terbutaline (ter-BUE-ta-leen)

Treats certain breathing problems caused by asthma, bronchitis, or emphysema. Helps to open the airways of your lungs so you can breathe easier.

Brand Name(s):

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to terbutaline or any related medicine, such as albuterol (Proventil®, Ventolin®) or epinephrine. You should not use this medicine if you are pregnant.

How to Use This Medicine:


  • Your doctor will prescribe your exact dose and tell you how often it should be given. This medicine is given as a shot under your skin.
  • A nurse or other health provider will give you this medicine.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

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

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are using or have recently stopped using an MAO inhibitor (MAOI) (such as Eldepryl®, Marplan®, Nardil®, or Parnate®) or medicine to treat depression (such as amitriptyline, doxepin, nortriptyline, Elavil®, Pamelor®, or Sinequan®).
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are using medicine to treat a heart problem or high blood pressure, or if you are using a diuretic or "water pill" (such as furosemide, Lasix®).

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Using this medicine to prevent or treat preterm labor can harm pregnant women. This medicine may increase risk of heart problems and other serious side effects when given to a pregnant woman for a long time. Use an effective form of birth control to keep from getting pregnant. If you think you have become pregnant while using the medicine, tell your doctor right away.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are breastfeeding, or if you have diabetes, thyroid problems, or a history of seizures. Tell your doctor if you have a history of severe chest pain (angina), heart disease, heart rhythm problems, high blood pressure, or circulation problems.
  • If any of your breathing 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.

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.
  • Dizziness, drowsiness, or fainting.
  • Pain, redness, or swelling under your skin where the shot was given.
  • Seizures (convulsions).

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

  • Nausea or dry mouth.
  • Tremor (shaking), nervousness, or headache.
  • Trouble sleeping.

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: 7/4/2018
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