Ventolin (albuterol) is a bronchodilator that relaxes muscles in the airways and increases air flow to the lungs. Ventolin is used to treat or prevent bronchospasm, or narrowing of the airways in the lungs, in people with asthma or certain types of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It is also used to prevent exercise-induced bronchospasm.
It is important to keep Ventolin on hand at all times. Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely. Keep using all of your other medications as prescribed by your doctor. Only use Ventolin as prescribed by your physician. An overdose of albuterol can be fatal. Follow all directions on your medicine label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.
Use Ventolin exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides. Read and carefully follow any Instructions for Use provided with your medicine. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you do not understand these instructions. Do not allow a young child to use Ventolin without help from an adult. To prevent exercise-induced bronchospasm, use this medicine 15 to 30 minutes before you exercise. The effects of Ventolin should last about 4 to 6 hours. Seek medical attention if your breathing problems get worse quickly, or if you think your asthma medications are not working as well. Ventolin HFA must be shaken well before each use. Always use the new inhaler device provided with your refill. Do not float a medicine canister in water to see if it is empty. Your dose needs may change due to surgery, illness, stress, or a recent asthma attack. Do not change your dose or dosing schedule without your doctor's advice.
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Ventolin: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
wheezing, choking, or other breathing problems after using this medicine;
chest pain, fast heart rate, pounding heartbeats or fluttering in your chest;
severe headache, pounding in your neck or ears;
pain or burning when you urinate;
high blood sugar - increased thirst, increased urination, dry mouth, fruity breath odor; or
low potassium - leg cramps, constipation, irregular heartbeats, increased thirst or urination, numbness or tingling, muscle weakness or limp feeling.
Common Ventolin side effects may include:
chest pain, fast or pounding heartbeats;
upset stomach, vomiting;
feeling shaky or nervous;
headache, back pain, body aches; or
cough, sore throat, sinus pain, runny or stuffy nose.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Tell your doctor about all your other medicines, especially:
any other inhaled medicines or bronchodilators;
a diuretic or "water pill";
an antidepressant - amitriptyline, desipramine, imipramine, doxepin, nortriptyline, and others;
a beta blocker - atenolol, carvedilol, labetalol, metoprolol, propranolol, sotalol, and others; or
an MAO inhibitor - isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue injection, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, tranylcypromine, and others.
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with albuterol, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.