There are a lot of medications on the market that can make your life easier but some have side effects that may or may not be as helpful to you. Albuterol is one of those drugs that is prescribed often and albuterol side effects can exist but may differ greatly from patient to patient. Before you start this medication, you may want to consider the known side effects and decide whether or not they are worth the risks.
What Is Albuterol?
Albuterol is a medication used to treat asthma in patients as young as 4 years old but can be used for adults as well. It is a bronchodilator which means it stimulates the airways in patients that have constrictions from inflammation or muscles tightening around the airway. It can be administered in several ways, but the most common is through the use of an inhaler that delivers a measured dose to the patient when it is inhaled through the mouth and into the lungs. The medication works very rapidly when administered this way and for someone struggling to breathe; it offers rapid relief.
Alternative Administration Methods
While metered aerosol inhalers are the most common method of getting the medication to the lungs and airway, there are other options. For some people, a nebulizer treatment is a better option. The nebulizer mixes the medication with a saline solution, and the patient breathes it in and out over a period of a few minutes. It is a longer treatment with a stronger dose of the medication but does not change the albuterol side effects in most cases. Albuterol is also available in tablets, both standard, and extended release, as well as a syrup that can make it easier to give to children.
Branded & Generics
This is a medication that has been on the market so long that many pharmaceutical companies have started to manufacture it. On a positive note, that means there are a lot of options for your doctor when they are prescribing it for you. If you need a low-cost alternative, there are generic options for the medication that you can use that will save you money. With both the branded and generic medications having the same albuterol side effects and you can go from one to the other and you will not likely notice any difference in the medication or the way it works for you.
If you are on a medication from a specific manufacturer, the albuterol is the same medication, but there may be other components in the system that are different. Check to see if the aerosol propellant is the same or in the power inhalers you may find something used to keep the powder from clumping. These are all normal differences and should not affect the medication but could change the albuterol side effects you experience.
What Is Albuterol Used For?
While albuterol is typically used for patients with asthma, there are a lot of other conditions that can be improved with it as well. Your doctor will have to make sure there are no albuterol side effects that could make your other conditions worse but it has been used for many years, and overall it is considered a safe medication. The most common uses for albuterol are for bronchospasms.
It can be as a rescue or emergency medication to treat a severe spasm and restore airway function, but it can also be used as a preventative medication. Albuterol side effects are not normally a problem when used either way if you follow the prescribed dose. When people have problems with the medication, it is often because they use it too often.
If you doctor prescribes 2 puffs 4 times a day, don’t do it 6 times a day. If the prescribed dose is not working, contact the doctor so they can look at making an adjustment for you. It is possible that this medication is not going to work for you.
Conditions That Doctors Prescribe Albuterol For
Some of the common conditions that doctors use albuterol to treat include asthma, COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), and reversible obstructive airway disease. All of these conditions are similar in that they involve constriction of the airway and the best way to reverse it is with albuterol. There are times when doctors will also prescribe albuterol for bronchitis and other short-term airway conditions because the albuterol side effects are few and far between, making it safe to start and stop as needed.
Getting the dosage right is important and will help reduce the chance or albuterol side effects for the patient. The most common dosage of albuterol is 90 mcg (micrograms) administered through a metered aerosol inhaler. This dose is not right for everyone, but it is a very common starting point. For nebulizer treatments, a dose of 1.25mg per 3ml of solution is a good baseline, but the doctor may want you to use more or less based on your size and weight and the severity of your condition. If you are taking the pill form of this medication, they may prescribe it in 2mg or 4 mg tablets or 6mg or 8 mg extended-release tablets.
Dosages for children are different. The medication must be regulated based on their size and weight. For very small children, too much albuterol can become toxic over time. If you are giving this medication to a child, do not change the dosage they are getting until you have spoken to their doctor.
Albuterol Side Effects - Good & Bad
When you are considering albuterol side effect and interactions, it is hard to think of them as good, but the rapid dilation effect that the medication has on the airway could be considered the strongest positive one. The negative side effects can be something to consider and should not be lightly dismissed. Anytime you are experiencing a side effect of a medication; it needs to be taken seriously.
Negative Side Effects:
One side effect that you may experience is shaking or tremors. Because albuterol is a stimulant, when used in large doses, the medication can have an effect on your nervous system and shaking can occur.
Increased Blood Pressure
Again, the stimulation effect of albuterol can raise your blood pressure; The is a concern if you already have high blood pressure. Your doctor may increase your blood pressure medication to try to counteract the albuterol side effects, but if it not a large increase, they may feel it is not important enough to change your medication yet.
Insomnia or trouble sleeping can be a very real problem with this medication. Depending on the amount of albuterol you are on, and the time of day you are taking it, you may have trouble sleeping. If this is the case, talk to your doctor so they can look at when and how much you are taking. It might just need to be adjusted, or you may adjust to the medication over time.
If you are experiencing headaches as one of your albuterol side effects, it may be related to your blood pressure. High blood pressure and headaches are known to coexist so if you start having a lot of headaches with your medication, you should get your blood pressure checked.
While allergic reactions can happen with any medications, they are not one of the common albuterol side effects that people have problems with very often. Like any medication, your body can develop an allergy to it over time.
Children that are on albuterol regularly can develop issues with hyperactivity. Remember, this medication has a stimulant effect on the lungs and airway. That same stimulation can
If you start to experience chest pain while you are on this medication, you should contact your doctor. The albuterol side effects can sometimes seem like something they are not, but you do not want to assume anything when chest pain is involved. The medication may be causing a flare-up of angina or some other condition related to a rapid heart rate.
These are the most common albuterol side effects to watch for, but there can be others that are related to these or something completely different. If you start to notice something changing after you have started on this medication, you should contact your doctor right away to discuss it. They may want to see you and will more than likely have you stop the medication until after your appointment.
If you are using albuterol for the purpose it is intended for, it is a very effective and safe medication. Yes, there are some albuterol side effects that you need to be aware of, and most of them are not so negative as to make it worth not taking the medication. As for the positive side effects, the medication working as fast and effectively as it does is the biggest positive. Add to the that the accessibility of it in so many forms and the relatively low price and you can see why it has been used so heavily and for so many years. While it is considered a safe medication, use it responsibly for the best results.