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Ventolin (Salbutamol)

Last updated on: November 3rd, 2021

Do you suffer from asthma symptoms? Most doctors prescribe using Ventolin based on Salbutamol. Learn what it is and how it works before you start the treatment course.

What is Albuterol?

Everyone knows how dangerous asthma is. Breathing difficulties may lead to sudden death if you don’t take the effective drug to avoid the possible constriction and inflammation. Albuterol is a drug for children and adults diagnosed with asthma. Albuterol has several production forms, among which are an inhalation suspension, a solution for a nebulizer, pills, and syrup for kids. The brand name of the drug is Ventolin. Albuterol Sulfate has been used with the aim to relieve bronchospasm for years and showed good results. It’s an effective medication for the prevention of asthma symptoms, among which are swelling of your airways’ lining, constant coughing, wheezing, and different respiratory diseases.

Mechanism of Action

Learn about the mechanism of action of Albuterol before you start using it. Salbutamol has a highly selective stimulating effect on beta2-adrenergic receptors and activates adenylate cyclase located in cells. The bronchodilator effect of Salbutamol is due to the relaxation of the smooth muscles of the bronchi. Salbutamol acts for a long time since it isn’t destroyed in the lungs by catechol-O-Methyltransferase. Salbutamol slows down the contractile activity of the myometrium, relaxes the uterus, and prevents premature birth.

When inhaled, 10–20% of Salbutamol reaches the small bronchi where it is gradually absorbed into the systemic circulation; part of the dose is absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract when swallowed. Salbutamol is well absorbed when using long-acting tablets. The maximum concentration is 30 ng/ml. The duration of the circulation of Salbutamol in the blood (at a therapeutic concentration) is 3-9 hours, after which the content of the drug gradually decreases. Salbutamol binds to plasma proteins by 10%.

It is excreted in breast milk and passes through the placenta. In the liver, Salbutamol undergoes biotransformation. The half-life is 3.8 hours. Regardless of the route of administration, it is excreted in the bile and urine, mainly unchanged (approximately 90%) or in the form of glucuronide.

Removal of bronchospasm is faster achieved with inhaled Salbutamol. Expansion of the bronchi already occurs in the 4-5th minute, increases by the 20th minute, becomes maximum in 40-60 minutes; the duration of the effect is 4–5 hours. The most pronounced result is achieved with the inhalation of 2 doses of Salbutamol, a further increase in the dose doesn’t lead to an increase in bronchial patency, but the possibility of adverse reactions (headache, tremor, dizziness) increases.

Salbutamol has a positive effect on mucociliary clearance (increases it by 36% in chronic bronchitis), activates the functions of the ciliated epithelium, and stimulates mucus secretion. It slows down the release of inflammatory mediators from basophils and mast cells (for example, anti-IgE-induced release of histamine), eliminates the antigen-dependent release of neutrophil chemotaxis factor and suppression of mucociliary transport. Salbutamol prevents bronchospasm caused by an allergen. It can cause a reduction in the number and desensitization of beta-adrenergic receptors, including on lymphocytes.

Salbutamol has a number of metabolic effects:

  • It reduces the concentration of potassium in the plasma;
  • It acts on the release of insulin and glycogenolysis, has a lipolytic and hyperglycemic (especially in patients with bronchial asthma) effect.
  • It increases the likelihood of developing acidosis.

Albuterol Mechanism of Action

Is it a Steroid?

Most patients ask, “Is Albuterol medication one of the steroid drugs?” No, there are no steroids in Ventolin. The drug relaxes muscles in your airways for you to breathe easily. The main substance of the drug is Albuterol that is known as a beta-agonist. Some healthcare specialists are prescribing to use a steroid treatment together with the Ventolin inhaler.

What is Albuterol Used for

Albuterol is used to prevent asthma symptoms that may be dangerous. You will help yourself instantly and prevent breathing difficulties if you have an inhaler with you.

Bronchospasm in People with Asthma

Albuterol is used in patients who have bronchospastic syndrome, bronchial asthma (including nighttime – prolonged forms) – prevention and relief, COPD (including chronic bronchitis, pulmonary emphysema).

Exercise-induced Bronchospasm

If you have exercise-induced bronchospasm, you are recommended to have an Albuterol inhaler with you. Use it before the training (at least 20 minutes before exercise). The medication is helpful for most people suffering from bronchospasms caused by exercises. The action of the drug is up to 6 hours. Take this into account when you are going to have physical exercises.

Other Conditions

Threatening premature birth with the appearance of contractile activity; isthmic-cervical insufficiency; fetal bradycardia (depending on uterine contractions during periods of uterine cervix dilatation and expulsion); operations on the pregnant uterus (the imposition of a circular suture in case of insufficiency of the internal uterine pharynx).

Albuterol Dosage

In case you use the inhaler form of Albuterol, follow the recommendations:

  • Adults and children over 12 years old – 2.5 mg of the drug 3-4 times a day. If necessary, it is possible to increase the dose to 5 mg. Keep in mind that the period between the drug use should be not less than 4-8 hours a day. The maximum daily dose is 32 mg.
  • Children 6-12 years old are recommended to take 2 mg 3-4 times a day, the maximum dose is 24 mg/day; 2-6 years old – 1-2 mg (0.1 mg / kg) 3-4 times a day.

Extended-release tablets:

  • Adults and children over 12 years old – 4-8 mg every 12 hours. The maximum dose is 32 mg/day (16 mg every 12 hours).
  • For children 6-12 years old, 4 mg every 12 hours, the maximum dose of the drug is 24 mg/day (12 mg every 12 hours). The tablets should be swallowed whole without chewing.

Intravenous use of the drug is used for severe bronchospasm:

0.25 mg (4 μg / kg), if necessary, every 15 minutes or by infusion – 0.005 mg/min, with an increase in the dose, if necessary, at intervals of 15-30 minutes up to 0.01-0.02 mg/min.

To prepare a solution for intravenous administration of the required concentration of 0.01 mg/ml, 5 mg of the drug solution is diluted with 500 ml of a solvent (water for injection, 0.9% sodium chloride solution, or 5% dextrose solution).

Your doctor may prescribe you to use another Albuterol dosage, taking into account your current health condition. The course of treatment depends on the symptom you have as well as the seriousness of your condition.

How to Use an Albuterol Inhaler?

Read the instructions on how to use an inhaler before you start using it:

  • Breathe Albuterol through your month.
  • Pay attention to how you place the mouthpiece. The end should be in your mouth while your lips should be closed tightly.
  • Make a deep breath.
  • Don’t exhale for 10 seconds. Then, start breathing slowly.
  • Do you need to make several puffs? Then, make pauses between them for at least a minute and get started again following the same recommendations.

How to use an inhaler

Ventolin Usage at Various Conditions

Find out how a potent anti-asthmatic agent used for therapeutic and prophylactic purposes for diseases of the bronchi and lungs may affect other conditions.

Other Diseases

You should inform your doctor if you have any serious health problems. The healthcare specialist may decrease the dosage if you have heart problems or other diseases. Don’t hide any information about your chronic health conditions.

Use of Anti-inflammatory Agents

You shouldn’t use any anti-inflammatory agents when using Ventolin. The drug helps decrease both acute and chronic inflammation. Consult your doctor if you take any anti-inflammatory drugs.

Ventolin during Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Aerosol Ventolin is rarely prescribed for pregnant women. If it is necessary to use this drug, strict control is carried out by medical personnel over the patient’s well-being and the effect of Salbutamol. Accurate data on the negative effects of the drug on the fetus have not been recorded.

In isolated cases, taking a bronchodilator led to the birth of babies with various defects: dystrophy of the upper and lower extremities or cleft palate. It should be noted that the occurrence of these pathologies was facilitated by the intake of an anti-asthma drug with drugs from other pharmacological groups.

Breastfeeding women should be aware that Salbutamol has the ability to pass into breast milk. However, there is no information about the negative effect of the drug on the baby. Despite this, in order to avoid the possible negative consequences, lactation should be interrupted before you start the inhalation therapy.

Cardiovascular Effects

Compared to other drugs with the same effect, the use of Ventolin doesn’t cause any harm to the cardiovascular system. You should take it according to the doctor’s prescription and not overdose the medication to avoid cardio problems.

Interactions with Other Substances

Treatment with the drug enhances the effect of stimulants of the central nervous system, tachycardia in patients with thyrotoxicosis, and the likelihood of developing extrasystole while taking cardiac glycosides. A single use of the drug reduces the concentration of digoxin by 16-22% against the background of 10-day therapy with the latter (it has no clinical significance, the concentration of digoxin in the blood should be monitored).

The probable increase in heart rate and blood pressure while taking the drug may necessitate a dose adjustment of antihypertensive and antianginal drugs.

Theophylline and other xanthines, when used simultaneously, increase the likelihood of developing tachyarrhythmias; means for inhalation anesthesia, levodopa – severe ventricular arrhythmias. Keep in mind the interactions with Albuterol when taking several drugs at a time.

MAO inhibitors and tricyclic antidepressants, increasing the effect of the drug, can lead to a sharp decrease in blood pressure.

Albuterol is incompatible (pharmacological antagonism) with non-selective beta-blockers (which must also be taken into account when using ophthalmic forms of beta-blockers).

Simultaneous administration with anticholinergics (including inhalations) can increase intraocular pressure. Diuretics and GCS enhance the hypokalemic effect of the drug.

Albuterol Side Effects

Ventolin side effects

Check what side effects Albuterol may cause and inform your doctor if you notice any adverse reaction among those that are listed below.

The main side effects of Albuterol are the following:

  • Fast or Irregular Heart Rate. You may have tachycardia (including in the fetus during pregnancy), palpitations, arrhythmias, increase or decrease in blood pressure, expansion of peripheral vessels, heart failure, myocardial ischemia, cardiomyopathy.
  • Nervousness. The side effects that refer to the nervous system are anxiety, tremor (usually of the hands), tension, dizziness, irritability, sleep disturbances, headache, short-term convulsions.
  • Dizziness. Headache and dizziness are the most common side effects. They are temporary and will go away without any serious consequences. But you are recommended to tell your doctor about them as well.
  • Sore Throat. One of the possible common side effects is pharyngitis.

Other possible side effects of Ventolin are:

bronchospasm (caused by hypersensitivity to Salbutamol or paradoxical), sweating, difficulty urinating, increased blood glucose levels, free fatty acids, dose-dependent hypokalemia, the development of mental and physical drug dependence, allergic reactions in the form of facial edema, erythema, shortness of breath.

Salbutamol Overdose

Be sure to check the consequences of the Salbutamol overdose to avoid dangerous side effects. Take the drug according to the instructions listed by the drug producer and the prescription of your personal healthcare specialist and call emergency if you have any serious side symptoms of the drug overdose.

Symptoms of Overdose

Symptoms of acute poisoning: angina pectoris, tachycardia (with a heart rate of up to 200 beats per minute), palpitations, arrhythmia, dizziness, dry mouth, fatigue, headache, hyperglycemia (replacing hypoglycemia), decreased or increased blood pressure, hypokalemia, insomnia, malaise, nausea, nervous tension, convulsions, tremors. Follow the pediatric dosage recommendations of your doctor, and you won’t face health problems caused by the overdose with Albuterol.

What to Do in Case of Overdose

Treatment in case of overdose is symptomatic. With an overdose of tablet forms of the drug, you may have gastric lavage, with tachyarrhythmias, cardioselective beta-blockers are administered (with caution because of the risk of bronchospasm). Be sure to use the drug according to the doctor’s instructions.

Does it Expire?

You aren’t recommended to use a Salbutamol inhaler when it expires. This usually happens a year after you have started to use the drug. After the expiration date, Ventolin may show no effect.
That’s why get a new one you can rely on before the one you use expires.

Albuterol Warnings

Before you start using an inhaler or using Ventolin for a nebulizer, you need to learn the following:

  • Ventolin should only be used with a doctor’s prescription. This drug should be included in the complex of treatment measures, and only then, the patient will benefit from the use.
  • If you notice that the effectiveness of the solution decreases, you should contact your doctor again and undergo an examination to identify the cause.
  • During the course, it is advisable to constantly monitor the potassium content in the blood.

If during the course of treatment there is a strong deterioration in health, you should immediately get qualified medical care.

Frequent use of the drug can lead to increased bronchospasm, sudden death, in connection with which, between taking the next doses of the drug, it is necessary to take breaks of 6 hours. Reduction of these intervals can take place only in exceptional cases. If it is necessary to prescribe the drug during lactation, you should stop breastfeeding as there is no evidence that the drug doesn’t pass into breast milk.

Adrenergic bronchodilators can be used during pregnancy since the potential risk of placental hypoxemia for the fetus against the background of uncontrolled bronchial asthma significantly outweighs the risk associated with their use. However, when treating with the drug during pregnancy, care should be taken since it can cause tachycardia and hyperglycemia in the mother (especially in the presence of diabetes mellitus) and the fetus, as well as cause the delayed labor in the mother, lower blood pressure, and cause pulmonary edema.

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