What is Albuterol?

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  • Written By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 27 September 2019
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Albuterol is a prescription medication that is used to treat a variety of breathing disorders, including asthma. Albuterol works by relaxing the airway so that breathing becomes easier and is available in the form of a tablet, syrup, or inhaler. This medication should be taken exactly as prescribed by a physician in order to reduce the risks of potential side effects. Some of the side effects that may be associated with albuterol usage include headache, dizziness, and mood changes. More serious side effects that should be reported to a physician right away include chest pain, more difficulty breathing, or swelling of the face or throat.

Albuterol may be prescribed to treat any breathing disorder that involves chest tightness, wheezing, or difficulty breathing. This medication is known as a bronchodilator and helps to relax and open air passageways so that breathing becomes easier. It is important to note that while albuterol is commonly used to treat symptoms of lung disease, it does not cure any underlying ailments. As such, it is often prescribed along with other medications.

The tablet and syrup forms of albuterol are typically taken three to four times per day. The extended-release tablets are generally taken twice per day. The tablet form of this medication should be swallowed whole with plenty of water. It should never be broken, crushed, or chewed, as this could reduce the effectiveness of the medication and may increase the risks of negative side effects.


The most common usage of albuterol involves inhaling the medication directly into the lungs. This may be in the form of a liquid that is used with a device known as a nebulizer or in an inhaler. A nebulizer is a machine that transforms the medication into a fine mist that can be more easily inhaled into the lungs. An inhaler uses an aerosol form of the medication that is breathed into the lungs for immediate symptom relief.

Some patients have reported some negative side effects when using albuterol to treat breathing disorders. Some of the more common side effects may include headache, nausea, or uncontrollable shaking. While these symptoms are generally mild, if they do not go away or become severe, the patient should consult a doctor. Some relatively uncommon yet serious side effects may occur as well. Symptoms such as irregular heartbeat, chest pain, or swelling of the face or throat should be considered medical emergencies. Allergic reactions are rare, but can be potentially life-threatening.


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Post 3

Albuterol is only prescribed for breathing disorders, but some people use it off-label for weight loss and fat burning. I don't want to give anyone ideas though. It's dangerous to use albuterol for these purposes and there really isn't that much evidence that it has benefits for fat burning and muscle building. Still, some athletes and body builders use it in place of other stimulants.

I've used albuterol for allergies and I know that it suppresses appetite for a while. But in order for someone to lose weight, I suppose high doses would be needed. I took a low dose of albuterol and had side effects like headaches, dizziness and sore throat. So I'm sure that high doses have very bad side effects. I don't think anyone should use albuterol for off-label purposes.

Post 2

@donasmrs-- As far as I know, a nebulizer is the most common way of administering albuterol for young children. You should speak to your daughter's doctor if you are worried about your daughter not getting the right dose with the inhaler.

My son had to use an albuterol nebulizer when he was little too. But the sound of the motor and the mask was scary for him so we actually had a hard time getting him to use it. But it's still the most effective way to give albuterol to infants and children.

Post 1

Has anyone used a nebulizer for albuterol?

My daughter is on albuterol for wheezing but sometimes, I don't think the inhaler is working for her. She's only six. Would an albuterol nebulizer be better?

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