Salbutamol (inhaled)


  • Make sure you know how to use this inhaler properly. If you are not sure, ask your nurse, pharmacist or doctor to show you.
  • If you find you need to use your salbutamol inhaler more than once per day, speak with your doctor or asthma nurse.
  • It is particularly important that your asthma is well controlled if you are pregnant. Make sure your doctor knows if you are expecting or trying for a baby.
  • Do not smoke. Smoking causes severe irritation and damage to the lungs. It will make your condition worse and will reduce the beneficial effects of your medication.
Type of medicine Bronchodilator
Used for Asthma
Other reversible airway diseases
Also called Airomir®
Asmasal Clickhaler®
Asmavent®
Salbutamol Easyhaler®
Salbutamol Cyclocaps®
Pulvinal Salbutamol®
Salamol®
Salamol Steri-Neb®
Salbulin Novolizer®
Ventolin®
Available as Aerosol Inhaler
Powder Inhaler
Powder for inhalation capsules
Nebuliser Solution

Salbutamol works by opening up the air passages in the lungs so that air can flow into the lungs more easily. In doing so it can help to relieve symptoms such as coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.

Before using salbutamol for inhalation make sure your doctor or pharmacist knows:

  • If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
  • If you have hyperthyroidism (an over active thyroid gland).
  • If you have heart problems including an irregular heartbeat.
  • If you have high blood pressure.
  • If you have diabetes.
  • If you are taking other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal and complementary medicines.
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to this or any other medicine.
  • Before starting this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack.
  • Follow your doctor's instructions carefully and make sure you know how to use your inhaler properly. If you are not sure, ask your nurse, doctor or pharmacist to show you.
  • Your doctor may give you a spacer device to use with some salbutamol inhalers particularly if you struggle to co-ordinate breathing in and pressing the inhaler device. This helps to make sure that the medicine travels right into your lungs. Your doctor or pharmacist will be able to advise you on using the device.
  • Salbutamol inhalers are sometimes referred to as "blue" inhalers or "reliever" inhalers. This is because they relieve symptoms of breathlessness. However, they do not prevent the breathlessness from happening.
  • This inhaler should provide you with several hours' relief. If you feel it is not working, or your breathing is getting worse, let your asthma nurse or doctor know straight away.
  • If you find you need to use your salbutamol "reliever" inhaler more than once per day, speak with your doctor or asthma nurse. Current guidelines recommend that you are prescribed an additional "preventer" inhaler to stop your breathing getting any worse.
  • You should receive a written asthma action plan from your asthma nurse or doctor, which will help you to manage your asthma and tell you what to do if you have an asthma attack.
  • Do not smoke. Smoking causes severe irritation and damage to the lungs. It will make your condition worse and will reduce the beneficial effects of your medication.
  • If you have diabetes, tell your doctor if you notice any changes in your blood glucose tests as salbutamol can affect the level of sugar in your blood.
  • If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with salbutamol.

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.

Common side-effects - these affect less than 1 in 10 people who take this medicine What can I do if I experience this
Feeling shaky This sensation should pass
Headache Ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller. If the headache continues speak with your doctor

If you notice a fast or fluttering heartbeat, speak with your doctor.

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.

  • Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else has taken an overdose of this medicine go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital at once. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
  • If you are having an operation or dental treatment tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.
  • This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
  • Never keep out of date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
  • If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.

Further reading & references

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.

Original Author:
Helen Allen
Current Version:
Peer Reviewer:
Dr Adrian Bonsall
Last Checked:
26/10/2011
Document ID:
3524 (v25)
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