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All about: albuterol inhalation

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Generic Name: albuterol inhalation (al BYOO ter all)
Brand Names: Accuneb, ProAir HFA, Proventil, Proventil HFA, Ventolin HFA

What is albuterol inhalation?

Albuterol is a bronchodilator that relaxes muscles in the airways and increases air flow to the lungs.

Albuterol inhalation is used to treat or prevent bronchospasm in people with reversible obstructive airway disease. Albuterol is also used to prevent exercise-induced bronchospasm.

Albuterol inhalation may also be used for conditions other than those listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about albuterol inhalation?

It is important to use this medication regularly to get the most benefit. Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely. Keep using all of your other medications as prescribed by your doctor.

Call your doctor right away if you feel that this medicine is not working as well as usual, or if it makes your condition worse. If it seems like you need to use more of any of your medications in a 24-hour period, talk with your doctor.

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine. An overdose of albuterol can be fatal. Symptoms of an albuterol inhalation overdose may include nervousness, headache, tremor, dry mouth, chest pain or heavy feeling, rapid or uneven heart rate, pain spreading to the arm or shoulder, nausea, sweating, dizziness, seizure (convulsions), feeling light-headed or fainting. Extreme heat can cause the medicine canister to burst. Do not store your inhaler in your car on hot days. Do not throw an empty canister into open flame.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using albuterol inhalation?

Before using this medication, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:

  • heart disease, high blood pressure, or congestive heart failure;

  • a heart rhythm disorder;

  • a seizure disorder such as epilepsy;

  • diabetes;

  • overactive thyroid;

If you have any of these conditions, you may not be able to use albuterol inhalation or you may need a dosage adjustment or special tests during treatment.

FDA pregnancy category C. This medication may be harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment. It is not known whether albuterol passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby. Do not give this medication to a child without the advice of a doctor.

How should I use albuterol inhalation?

Use this medication exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not use the medication in larger amounts, or use it for longer than recommended by your doctor. Follow the instructions on your prescription label.

This medication may increase the risk of asthma-related death. It is critical that you use only the prescribed dose of this medicine and follow all patient instructions for safe use of the medication.

Albuterol inhalation comes with patient instructions for safe and effective use. Follow these directions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.

When using the inhaler device for the first time, prime it by spraying 4 test sprays into the air, away from your face. Shake well before priming. Also prime the inhaler if you have not used it for 2 weeks or longer, or if you have dropped the inhaler.

The instructions below are for standard use of the inhaler and nebulizer devices. Your doctor may want you to use your device differently. Be sure you understand all instructions that are specific to your use of this medication. Use only the inhaler device provided with your medicine or you may not get the correct dose.

To use the inhaler:

  • Shake the canister well just before each spray.
  • Uncap the mouthpiece of the inhaler. Breathe out fully. Put the mouthpiece into your mouth and close your lips. Keep your eyes closed to prevent spraying any medicine into your eyes. Breathe in slowly while pushing down on the canister. Hold your breath for 10 seconds, then breathe out slowly.
  • If you use more than one inhalation at a time, wait at least 1 minute before using the second inhalation and shake the inhaler again.

  • Keep your inhaler clean and dry, and store it with the cap on the mouthpiece. Clean your inhaler once a week by removing the canister and placing the mouthpiece under warm running water for at least 30 seconds. Shake out the excess water and allow the parts to air dry before putting the inhaler back together.

  • If your mouthpiece is not completely dry when you put the canister back in it, the mouthpiece can become blocked. If the inhaler does not spray a fine mist, clean the mouthpiece again and air-dry thoroughly before putting the inhaler together again. Never place the canister in water.

To use the solution with a nebulizer:

  • Measure the correct amount of medicine using the dropper provided, or use the proper number of ampules. Place the liquid into the medication chamber of the nebulizer. If using a medicine dropper, do not allow the dropper to touch any surface including your hands or the nebulizer.

  • Attach the mouthpiece or face mask to the drug chamber. Then, attach the drug chamber to the compressor. Sit upright in a comfortable position. Place the mouthpiece into your mouth or put the face mask on, covering your nose and mouth. Breathe in slowly and evenly until you have inhaled all of the medicine (usually 5 to 15 minutes). The treatment is complete when no more mist is formed by the nebulizer and the drug chamber is empty.

  • Clean the nebulizer after each use. Follow the cleaning directions that came with your nebulizer.

Call your doctor right away if you feel that this medicine is not working as well as usual, or if it makes your condition worse. If it seems like you need to use more of any of your medications in a 24-hour period, talk with your doctor.

It is important to use this medication regularly to get the most benefit. Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely. Keep using all of your other medications as prescribed by your doctor.

Store this medication at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Extreme heat can cause the medicine canister to burst. Do not store it in your car on hot days. Do not throw an empty canister into open flame.

Throw away the inhaler canister after 2 months or 200 sprays (when the spray counter reads "000"), which ever comes first. Throw the canister away even if it feels like there is still medicine in it.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Use the medication as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and use the medicine at the next regularly scheduled time. Do not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine. An overdose of albuterol can be fatal. Symptoms of an albuterol inhalation overdose may include nervousness, headache, tremor, dry mouth, chest pain or heavy feeling, rapid or uneven heart rate, pain spreading to the arm or shoulder, nausea, sweating, dizziness, seizure (convulsions), feeling light-headed or fainting.

What should I avoid while using albuterol inhalation?

Avoid getting this medication in your eyes. If this does happen, rinse the eyes with water and seek medical attention.

Albuterol inhalation side effects

Stop using this medication and get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Stop using albuterol and call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:
  • bronchospasm (wheezing, chest tightness, trouble breathing), especially after starting a new canister of this medicine;

  • chest pain and fast, pounding, or uneven heart beats;

  • tremor, nervousness; or

  • increased blood pressure (severe headache, blurred vision, trouble concentrating, chest pain, numbness, seizure).

Continue using this medication and talk with your doctor if you have any of these less serious side effects:

  • headache, dizziness, nervousness;

  • sleep problems (insomnia);

  • cough, hoarseness, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose;

  • dry mouth and throat;

  • muscle pain; or

  • diarrhea.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect albuterol inhalation?

Before using this medication, tell your doctor if you are taking any of the following medicines:

  • digoxin (digitalis, Lanoxin);
  • a beta-blocker such as acebutolol (Sectral), atenolol (Tenormin), carvedilol (Coreg), metoprolol (Lopressor), or propranolol (Inderal);
  • a diuretic (water pill) such as furosemide (Lasix), bumetanide (Bumex), ethacrynic acid (Edecrin), torsemide (Demadex), hydrochlorothiazide (Hydrodiuril), chlorthalidone (Hygroton, Thalitone), or chlorothiazide (Diuril);

  • an MAO inhibitor such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), rasagiline (Azilect), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam), or tranylcypromine (Parnate); or

  • other bronchodilators such as levalbuterol (Xopenex), bitolterol (Tornalate), pirbuterol (Maxair), terbutaline (Brethine, Bricanyl), salmeterol (Serevent), isoetherine (Bronkometer), metaproterenol (Alupent, Metaprel), or isoproterenol (Isuprel Mistometer).

If you are using any of these drugs, you may not be able to use albuterol, or you may need dosage adjustments or special tests during treatment.

There may be other drugs not listed that can affect albuterol. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist has information about albuterol inhalation written for health professionals that you may read.

What does my medication look like?

Albuterol inhalation is available with a prescription under the brand names Accuneb, Ventolin, Proventil, and ProAir. Other brand or generic formulations may also be available. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about this medication, especially if it is new to you.

  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2006 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 3.05. Revision Date: 06/01/2007 10:46:59 AM.

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