Top of the page
Common Brand Name(s): Ventolin
This is a summary and does NOT have all possible information about this product. This information does not assure that this product is safe, effective, or appropriate for you. This information is not individual medical advice and does not substitute for the advice of your health care professional. Always ask your health care professional for complete information about this product and your specific health needs.
Albuterol (also known as salbutamol) is used to treat wheezing and shortness of breath caused by breathing problems (such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Albuterol belongs to a class of drugs known as bronchodilators. It works by relaxing the muscles around the airways so that they open up and you can breathe more easily. Controlling symptoms of breathing problems can decrease time lost from work or school.
This medication is taken by mouth and does not work right away. It should not be used for sudden attacks of breathing trouble. Your doctor may prescribe a quick-relief inhaler for sudden shortness of breath/asthma attacks while you are on this medication. Always have the quick-relief inhaler with you. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.
Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually 3 or 4 times daily. Dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. Adults and children older than 12 years should not take more than 32 milligrams a day. Children aged 6 to 12 years should not take more than 24 milligrams a day. Children aged 2 to 5 years should not take more than 12 milligrams a day.
Carefully measure your prescribed dose using a medication-measuring device or spoon. Do not use a household spoon because you may not get the correct dose.
Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same times each day. Do not increase your dose or take this drug more often than prescribed because your risk of serious side effects will increase.
Learn which of your medications you should use every day and which you should use if your breathing suddenly worsens. Ask your doctor what to do if you have worsening cough or shortness of breath, wheezing, increased sputum, worsening peak flow meter readings, increased use of your quick-relief inhaler, or if your quick-relief inhaler does not seem to be working well. Learn when you can self-medicate and when you should get medical help right away.
Nervousness, shaking (tremor), headache, or dizziness may occur. If any of these effects last or get worse, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that this medication has been prescribed because your doctor has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
This medication may raise your blood pressure. Check your blood pressure regularly and tell your doctor if the results are high.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including:
Get medical help right away if you have any rare but very serious side effects, including:
Rarely, this medication has caused severe (rarely fatal), sudden worsening of breathing problems/asthma (paradoxical bronchospasm). If you experience sudden wheezing, get medical help right away.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including:
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Before taking albuterol, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have had a serious reaction to similar drugs (such as levalbuterol, metaproterenol, terbutaline); or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of:
This drug may make you dizzy. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can make you more dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. Limit alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana (cannabis).
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
It is unknown if this medication passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Alberta residents can call PADIS (Poison and Drug Information Service) 24 hours a day at 1-800-332-1414. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: fast/pounding/irregular heartbeat, severe shaking (tremors), seizures, chest pain.
Do not share this medication with others.
Laboratory and/or medical tests (such as a lung/breathing test, blood pressure) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.
Avoid allergens/irritants such as smoke, pollen, pet dander, dust, or molds that may worsen breathing problems.
Learn to use a peak flow meter, use it daily, and promptly report worsening breathing problems (such as readings in the yellow/red range, increased use of quick-relief inhalers).
Ask your doctor or pharmacist whether you should have an annual flu shot.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose. Take your next dose at the regular time. Do not double the dose to catch up.
If you have questions about missing a dose or you don't have more medication, contact your healthcare provider or pharmacist.
Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company for more details about how to safely discard your product.
Your condition can cause complications in a medical emergency. For information about enrolling in MedicAlert, call 1-888-633-4298 (US) or 1-800-668-1507 (Canada).
Information last revised January 2022.
Copyright(c) 2022 First Databank, Inc.
Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.