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Albuterol Side Effects

Albuterol Side Effects

Albuterol is a lifesaving drug for asthmatic patients. However, it comes with its share of side effects. This article lists them in detail.
Omkar Phatak
Last Updated: Apr 28, 2018
Every medicine that's administered to a patient, is an external modification and interference in the body metabolism. A medicine is targeted to work on certain ailments but its effects in other parts of the body are unpredictable and sometimes inevitable. In other words, every medicine causes certain side effects. Some have negligible side effects, while some may have serious ones. As long as the effect of medicine on an ailment, outweighs its side effects, the drug is worth it. So, drugs and medications need to be prescribed carefully.

About Albuterol

Albuterol is a drug used in the treatment of asthma. It has been used since May 1982 after approval from the FDA. It is known by its various brand names as Proventil HFA, Proventil Repetabs, AccuNeb, Proventil, Ventolin, Airet, Proair HFA and Vospire ER (whew!). It is a bronchodilator drug, that helps in relaxing the muscles of the nasal and respiratory airways. It is effective in treating and preventing bronchospasm. It is used in treating many obstructive airway diseases and primarily, asthma. It can also help people, affected by conditions like emphysema and chronic bronchitis. When administered in the form of an inhaler, it can provide temporary relief from asthmatic attacks. Asthmatic attacks lead to constriction of the air vessels, which easily open up after treatment with Albuterol. This drug can also be administered in form of a drug or a syrup.

Breast feeding and pregnant women are normally advised, not to use this medicine. Albuterol in inhaler, drug or syrup form, should not be administered, if an asthma patient also suffers from any of the following conditions.
  • Heart disease, Congestive Heart Failure and Hypertension
  • Seizure inducing diseases like Epilepsy
  • Thyroid Overactivity
  • Diabetes
In some cases, albuterol can still be administered with dosage reduction. Consult your doctor regarding usage in such cases.

Observed Albuterol Side Effects

Several side effects of albuterol have been observed, since its use as a inhaler or in tablet/syrup form began. It is even used with a nebulizer. Here is a list of all the known side effects of albuterol in children and adults.
  • Some of the most common side effects in elderly people and children are dizziness, jitters, headaches,nausea, sore throat and restlessness
  • Some rare side effects are rapid heartbeat coupled with tremors, chest pain, anxiety, hoarseness, itching and throat swelling. If such severe reactions persist for too long, then consult a doctor immediately, particularly in case of infants
  • Wheezing is a side effect of albuterol. It is a peculiar sound like a whistle, which accompanies breathing.
  • One of the side effects in infants is difficulty in falling asleep and insomniac tendencies.
  • Uncontrolled shaking and muscle cramps are also reported, after albuterol is administered
  • Other observed side effects are pale skin, shakiness, ringing in the ears, ear pain, hyperactivity, coordination problems, nervousness, vertigo and vomiting.
  • Albuterol may cause a drop in potassium levels in the blood. This condition is called Hypokalemia.
  • If you are taking any other stimulant medications for heart problems, along with albuterol, consult your doctor, as the combination of Albuterol with certain other drugs may lead to some other side effects. Some of the drugs which may cause problems due to interaction with Albuterol are bronchodilators like bitolterol and metaproterenol, antidepressants, Monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors and beta blockers. If you are already using any of these medications, report it to your physician.
  • Albuterol has been known to trigger severe allergic reactions in some people, which includes face swelling, tongue, lip and mouth swelling, rashes and itching. In rare cases, Albuterol administration has been reported to worsen breathing problems, inducing a bronchospasm.
  • An overdose of the drug may cause nausea, nervousness, seizures, chest pain, tiredness, severe drop in energy levels and a headache.
Albuterol comes with loads of side effects, but it's a lifesaving drug for asthma patients and is widely used throughout the world. You may not experience all side effects listed here. The side effects will differ according to the age, physiology and allergic tendencies, if any. I advise you to refrain from using this drug, without prescription from a qualified doctor.