Generic name: albuterol inhalation (al BYOO ter all)
Brand name: Ventolin HFA
Drug class: Adrenergic bronchodilators
Ventolin (albuterol) is a bronchodilator that relaxes muscles in the airways and increases air flow to the lungs.
Ventolin HFA 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.
Ventolin HFA is for use in adults and children who are at least 4 years old.
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.
Talk with your doctor if any of your asthma medications do not seem to work as well in treating or preventing attacks. If it seems like you need to use more of any of your medications in a 24-hour period, talk with your doctor. An increased need for medication could be an early sign of a serious asthma attack.
Only use Ventolin as prescribed by your physician. An overdose of albuterol can be fatal. Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
Extreme heat can cause the Ventolin HFA canister to burst. Do not store your inhaler in your car on hot days. Do not throw an empty canister into open flame.
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.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use Ventolin if you are allergic to albuterol.
Ventolin is not approved for use by anyone younger than 4 years old.
Albuterol may increase the risk of death or hospitalization in people with asthma, but the risk in people with obstructive airway disease or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is not known.
To make sure this medicine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
- heart disease, high blood pressure;
- a thyroid disorder;
- diabetes; or
- low levels of potassium in your blood.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known whether albuterol will harm an unborn baby. However, having uncontrolled asthma during pregnancy may increase the risk of premature birth, low birth weight, or eclampsia (dangerously high blood pressure that can lead to medical problems in both mother and baby). The benefit of preventing bronchospasm may outweigh any risks to the baby.
If you are pregnant, your name may be listed on a pregnancy registry to track the effects of albuterol on the baby.
It may not be safe to breastfeed while using Ventolin HFA. Ask your doctor about any risk.
How should I use Ventolin?
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.
Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, or cold temperatures.
Store Ventolin HFA with the mouthpiece down.
Keep the inhaler canister away from open flame or high heat. The canister may explode if it gets too hot. Do not puncture or burn an empty inhaler canister.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Ventolin should be used only when needed. Use the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. An overdose of albuterol can be fatal.
Overdose symptoms may include dry mouth, tremors, chest pain, fast heartbeats, nausea, general ill feeling, seizure (convulsions), feeling light-headed or fainting.
What should I avoid while using Ventolin?
Rinse with water if this medicine gets in your eyes.
Ventolin side effects
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;
- painful urination;
- 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.
What other drugs will affect Ventolin?
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.