About salbutamol for inhalation
|Type of medicine||Bronchodilator|
Other reversible airway diseases
|Available as||Aerosol Inhaler
Powder for inhalation capsules
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
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.
How to use salbutamol for inhalation
- 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.
Getting the most from your treatment
- 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.
Can salbutamol for inhalation cause problems?
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.
How to store salbutamol for inhalation
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Further reading & references
- British National Formulary; 62nd Edition (Sep 2011) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
- Manufacturer's PIL, Ventolin Evohaler®,; Manufacturer's PIL, Ventolin Evohaler®, Allen & hanburys Ltd, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated June 2009.
- Manufacturer's PIL, Pulvinal® Salbutamol Inhaler 200 micrograms, Chiesi Ltd; Manufacturer's PIL, Pulvinal® Salbutamol Inhaler 200 micrograms, Chiesi Ltd, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated November 2008.
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.
Dr Adrian Bonsall