Albuterol (generic for Ventolin) treats shortness of breath caused by bronchospasm, a sudden tightening of the muscles in the walls of the breathing passages (bronchioles). Bronchospasm can be caused by asthma, exercise, chronic bronchitis, and anaphylaxis. Albuterol inhalers deliver this medication directly to the breathing passages. Common adverse effects of treatment with inhaled albuterol include palpitations, chest pain, rapid heart rate, tremor, and nervousness. Prime the albuterol inhaler before using it for the first time, when the inhaler has not been used for more than 2 weeks, or when the inhaler has been dropped. To prime the inhaler, release 4 sprays into the air away from the face, shaking well before each spray.
Do not use this medication more frequently than recommended. In patients with asthma, needing more doses of albuterol than normal can indicate that asthma is worsening and that a severe breathing problem may be imminent. Seek emergency medical care.
Albuterol can cause paradoxical bronchospasm, in which the medication unexpectedly makes breathing worse. Paradoxical bronchospasm can be life-threatening, and use of the medication should be discontinued immediately if paradoxical bronchospasm occurs. Albuterol can cause immediate allergic reactions (anaphylaxis), stress on the heart and cardiovascular system (particularly in people with a history of heart disease), and low levels of potassium (which can itself cause heart problems).
|Bronchospasm||albuterol 1-2 inhalations every 4-6 hours as needed|
Adult doses are shown, unless otherwise specified. Refer to weight-based dosing guidelines for pediatric patients.
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