Salbutamol is a bronchodilator that comes in the form of an inhaler. This medication helps the muscles in your airways to relax, so that you can breathe more easily. This substance can be useful for treating conditions like shortness of breath and wheezing.

What is salbutamol?

Salbutamol is an inhaler-based medication that can assist with opening the airways and relaxing the muscles in your chest and throat. It relieves symptoms such as chest tightness, wheezing and shortness of breath. Salbutamol is only available on prescription and may come in a range of different kinds of inhalers to help you deal with your condition. The salbutamol inhaler is a reliever inhaler, providing immediate relief when you are suffering from significant attacks with your breathing problems. If you need to use your inhaler more than three times in a single week, it could be a sign that you are not controlling your problem properly and may need a different kind of treatment for this purpose. Salbutamol is also available as tablets and capsules, or even a syrup for people who cannot use an inhaler. It can also be given via a nebuliser, although this is usually the only the case for people who have severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma.

When is salbutamol used?

Salbutamol, otherwise known as albuterol, is a medication used to relieve the symptoms of CPOD and asthma, including wheezing, coughing and feelings of breathlessness. The substance works by relaxing the muscles in your airways and lungs, so that it is easier to breathe.

Salbutamol can prevent shortness of breath and wheezing caused by breathing problems such as COPD. Salbutamol may also be given to prevent asthma that is exacerbated by exercise. Salbutamol belongs to a class of drugs known as bronchodilators and works by opening the breathing passages.

How do you use salbutamol?

Whenever you are using a new medication, it is important to read the patient leaflet that is included with the medication. This will include information about how the medication works, and what you can do to use it properly while reducing your risk of side effects. If you are given the salbutamol inhaler and you are unsure how to use it, ask for a demonstration from a doctor or pharmacist.

Salbutamol inhalers often come with illustrated directions to help you understand how to properly use your medication. Some brands of this particular product also come with a built-in sensor that can keep track of how frequently you use your inhaler, and how many doses you have left.

  1. Take the lid off the bottom of the salbutamol inhaler and inhale by mouth according to the instructions provided by your doctor. Remember that using too much of this inhaler could increase your risk of dangerous side effects;
  2. If you are using salbutamol for the prevention of asthma brought on by exercise, you may need to take it 30 minutes before you plan to exercise. Do not use a spacer on this inhaler, and do not open the cap unless you are ready to take a dose;
  3. Before you use the inhaler, hold it upright and open the cap. The device will click, which indicates that it is ready for use;
  4. Do not breathe into your inhaler. Put the mouthpiece in your mouth and close your lips around it. Breathe in deeply and steadily and hold your breath for around 10 seconds. Close the cap after you are finished using the salbutamol inhaler. Clean the outside of your mouthpiece regularly.

What dosages are there?

There are two ways to use salbutamol inhalers. You can either use them prior to exercise or take them to treat breathing problem attacks when they happen, following the instructions provided by your doctor. Speak to your doctor about the maximum number of times you can use the salbutamol inhaler each day.

Usually, you will be able to use salbutamol every four to six hours as needed. However, the dosage that you will be given will be based on your condition and your response to previous forms of treatment. Using too much of this inhaler could lead to potentially fatal side effects.

You will need to use this medication according to the instructions provided by your doctor if you are taking it to address breathing problems brought on by either allergens or exercise.

What are the side effects of salbutamol?

Salbutamol is deemed a safe form of treatment for many cases of asthma and COPD. Although it may be used safely for a wide variety of breathing problems, all medications can potentially cause side effects, particularly when your body is just getting used to a new substance.

The most common side effects of salbutamol include dizziness, nervousness, shaking, headache, nausea, dryness of the mouth or throat, unusual taste, or irritation in the back of your mouth. If any of these issues worsen or persist, speak to a doctor or pharmacist immediately.

In certain cases, using a salbutamol inhaler or salbutamol nebuliser could increase your blood pressure. If you are at higher risk than most people of having problems with your blood pressure, you may be asked to take your blood pressure readings regularly at home and share them with a doctor or consultant. Remember that your doctor or consultant will have prescribed this medication to you because the potential benefits have been deemed greater than the possible risks. Speak to your doctor immediately if you notice any more serious side effects when taking salbutamol, including:

  • Shortness of breath that has worsened;
  • Fast or pounding heartbeat;
  • Serious pain in the chest;
  • Rapid breathing;
  • Confusion.

In rare conditions, salbutamol can cause a worsening of breathing problems. If this happens and you begin wheezing aggressively, you should seek medical help immediately. A very significant allergic reaction to this medication is unlikely. However, you should always seek medical attention immediately if you notice any of the symptoms of an allergic reaction. This includes itching or rash. You may also have swelling in the tongue, face or throat, and severe dizziness.

This is not a full and complete list of the side effects that can occur when using a drug like salbutamol. Speak to your doctor or consultant if you have any concerns and check your leaflet before using the medication.

When should you not use salbutamol?

Salbutamol will not be the best treatment for everyone with breathing or COPD conditions. Before you begin using this medication, it is important to answer any questions asked by your consultant or doctor about your medical history. You should also make sure that they are informed of any allergies that you have, particularly to similar drugs that contain ingredients to help relax the airways.

If you have other allergies, it is important to speak to your doctor or consultant about those. This product can contain inactive ingredients such as milk proteins which might cause an allergic reaction in some cases. Before you begin using salbutamol, tell your doctor or consultant about your medical history, making sure that you cover any instances of heart problems, including an irregular heartbeat, previous heart attacks or problems with seizures and high blood pressure.

In some cases, salbutamol can cause you to feel dizzy. Other medications and substances such as alcohol could make you more dizzy. Do not use machinery, drive or do anything that requires alertness until you are sure that you can do so without putting yourself or others in danger.

This medication should only be used during pregnancy when it is clearly necessary, so you should speak to your doctor about whether salbutamol is right for you at this time. It is not certain whether this medication passes into breast milk, so consult your doctor before you breastfeed.

Does salbutamol interact with other medications?

Salbutamol may interact negatively with other medications that you are using, which increases your chances of negative side effects. It is important to keep a complete list of the medications that you are using with you at all times so you can share them with your doctor or consultant when necessary.

Make sure that your doctor is aware of any products that you are using, including prescription and non-prescription drugs, herbal products and even supplemental substances. Salbutamol is very similar to certain other drugs, including levalbuterol. You should not use other medications that are similar to salbutamol when taking this drug. If you are using any other medications that require an inhaler and you are not sure whether they are safe to take with salbutamol, speak to a doctor about your concerns. Make sure that you do not take a higher dose of this medication than necessary.

Where can you buy salbutamol?

Salbutamol is available to purchase from pharmacies and chemists online or offline. You will need to speak to a doctor to see if this is the right treatment for you.

Can I get salbutamol without a prescription?

Salbutamol is not available without a prescription. A consultant or doctor will need to discuss your situation with you before prescribing it.


Medicines.Org (6 September 2018) Easyhaler salbutamol 100mcg, retrieved April 24 2020 from: (29 April 2019 ) salbutamol, retrieved April 24 2020 from:

Patient Info (5 June 2017) salbutamol inhaler, retrieved April 24 2020 from: ventolin

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