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All about: Ammonia Spirit, Aromatic (Inhalation)

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Available in the U.S. as generic name product.

Another commonly used name is smelling salts.

* Not commercially available in Canada.

Category

  • Respiratory stimulant

Description

Aromatic ammonia spirit (air-a-MAT-ik a-MOAN-ya SPIR-it) is used to prevent or treat fainting.

Fainting may be caused by some kinds of medicine, by an unpleasant or stressful event, or by a serious medical problem, such as heart disease. Fainting in an older person is often more serious than fainting in a younger person. Older people and people with a history of heart problems should seek medical attention as soon as possible after fainting.

Aromatic ammonia spirit is available without a doctor's prescription in the following dosage forms:

  • Inhalation
  • Inhalants (U.S.)
  • Solution (U.S.)

Before Using This Medicine

If you are using this medicine without a prescription, carefully read and follow any precautions on the label. For aromatic ammonia spirit, the following should be considered:

Allergies- Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to aromatic ammonia spirit. Also tell your health care professional if you are allergic to any other substances, such as foods, preservatives, or dyes.

Pregnancy- Studies on effects in pregnancy have not been done in either humans or animals.

Breast-feeding- It is not known whether aromatic ammonia spirit passes into breast milk. However, this medicine has not been reported to cause problems in nursing babies.

Children- This medicine has been tested in children and, in effective doses, has not been shown to cause different side effects or problems than it does in adults. However, this medicine should not be given to children without first checking with their doctor.

Older adults- Many medicines have not been studied specifically in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults. Although there is no specific information comparing use of aromatic ammonia spirit in the elderly with use in other age groups, this medicine is not expected to cause different side effects or problems in older people than it does in younger adults.

Other medicines- Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your health care professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.

Other medical problems- The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of aromatic ammonia spirit. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, or other chronic lung disease, or
  • Eye problems-This medicine may make these conditions worse
  • Flushed face-The cause of the fainting may be a serious condition that should be treated by a doctor

Proper Use of This Medicine

Dosing- Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label . The following information includes only the average doses of aromatic ammonia spirit. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

  • For preventing or treating fainting:
    • For inhalation dosage form (inhalants):
      • Adults and teenagers-The inhalant should be held away from the face and crushed between the fingers. The inhalant should then be held about four inches away from the nostrils, and the vapor slowly inhaled until the patient awakens or no longer feels faint.
      • Children-Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
    • For inhalation dosage form (solution):
      • Adults and teenagers-After the top is taken off the container, the vapor may be slowly inhaled until the patient awakens or no longer feels faint.
      • Children-Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

Storage- To store this medicine:

  • Keep out of the reach of children.
  • Store away from heat and direct light.
  • Do not store inhalants in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink, or in other damp places. Heat or moisture may cause the medicine to break down.
  • Keep the medicine from freezing. Do not refrigerate.
  • Keep the container of liquid tightly closed.
  • Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed. Be sure that any discarded medicine is out of the reach of children.

Precautions While Using This Medicine

Fainting in older people may be a sign of a serious medical problem. Older people and people with heart problems should check with their doctor as soon as possible after fainting .

Keep this medicine away from your eyes and skin . If aromatic ammonia spirit comes into contact with your eyes or skin, burns and irritation may occur. Burns in the eyes may cause blindness.

If this medicine gets into your eyes:

  • Rinse your eyes with a gentle stream of water for 20 minutes. Hold the eyelid away from the eyeball to allow complete rinsing.
  • Call a poison control center, your doctor, or a hospital emergency room immediately.

If this medicine comes into contact with your skin:

  • Remove any clothing on which aromatic ammonia spirit has spilled.
  • Rinse the skin with large amounts of water.
  • Do not rub or apply ointment to the skin.
  • Call your doctor if skin irritation continues.

If a large amount of this medicine is taken orally:

  • Drink a glass (8 ounces) of water.
  • Call a poison control center, your doctor, or a hospital emergency room immediately.

Side Effects of This Medicine

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

Less common

Cough; diarrhea; difficulty in breathing; headache; vomiting

Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your doctor.

Developed: 06/23/1995

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