Ventolin (Salbutamol): Drug Indications, Doses, Precautions

What is Ventolin?

An inhalation drug with a bronchodilator effect that facilitates the free flow of air in the airways. It is used in diseases with bronchospasm. It takes a few minutes to work and usually lasts for 4 to 6 hours.

What does Ventolin contain and how does it work?

The active substance of the preparation is salbutamol (salbutamol sulphate). It is a substance belonging to sympathomimetics. All sympathomimetics work by stimulating certain types of receptors, called adrenergic receptors, located on the surface of certain cells in our body. In the event of inhaled salbutamol, the beta2-adrenergic receptors in bronchial smooth muscle are stimulated. Inhalation of the drug is intended to enable the drug to quickly and directly reach the site of its action, i.e. to beta2 receptors in the respiratory tract, and to minimize systemic side effects. The stimulation of these receptors leads to muscle relaxation and bronchodilation, which facilitates the free flow of air to the lungs. The ventilation of the lungs improves and the patient feels a significant relief or complete disappearance of breathlessness caused by contraction of the muscles of the airways.

When to use Ventolin?

Aerosol:

The preparation is recommended in the treatment of bronchospasm in patients with asthma and in the treatment of reversible obstruction (reduction of patency) of the airways. The preparation can be used prophylactically before exercise in patients suffering from exercise-induced asthma or before the expected contact with an allergen causing dyspnoea.

Inhalation fluid:

The preparation is recommended in the treatment of acute, severe attacks of bronchial asthma as well as in the treatment of bronchospasms that are not amenable to the usual methods of treatment.

When not to use this preparation?

Unfortunately, even if there are indications for the use of the preparation, it cannot always be used. You can not use the preparation if you are allergic (you are hypersensitive) to any of the ingredients.

It must not be used in the prevention of threatening miscarriage or in the prevention of premature birth. Salbutamol inhibits uterine contractions. Administered orally or intravenously, it is sometimes used in the prevention of preterm labor (this indication is off-label in Canada).

When should you take special care with Ventolin?

Certain diseases and other circumstances may constitute a contraindication to the use or an indication to change the dosage of the preparation. In some situations it may be necessary to carry out certain check-ups.

Therefore, before using the preparation, you should inform your doctor if you suspect or have been diagnosed with:

  • overactive thyroid gland
  • heart failure, ischemic heart disease, cardiomyopathy, arrhythmias
  • diabetes

or if you have used previously:

  • high doses of sympathomimetics.

If you suffer from any cardiovascular disorders and you develop shortness of breath or chest pain while using the preparation, you should consult your doctor, because these symptoms may indicate an adverse effect of salbutamol on the cardiovascular system and exacerbation of its dysfunction.

Important! If you notice that the usual dose of the preparation does not relieve symptoms, you should consult a doctor as soon as possible. Similarly, if you notice that you need to use a larger dose to relieve your symptoms, or you need to use your usual doses more and more often, you should immediately consult a doctor. Increased use of bronchodilators indicates worsening of asthma and increases the risk of an acute attack. Your doctor will assess your condition and review any further treatment. For example, it may increase the dose of inhaled corticosteroids or introduce oral corticosteroids.

In the treatment of severe or unstable asthma, Ventolin cannot be used as the primary or sole drug. In this case, combination therapy with anti-inflammatory drugs is necessary. Your doctor will likely recommend regular corticosteroid use as a basis of treatment.

Also remember that if you feel better, you must not stop or modify your anti-inflammatory drugs (corticosteroids) treatment without consulting your doctor.

Rarely, some people may experience, counterproductive, a sharp bronchospasm (called paradoxical bronchospasm) after taking a dose of a bronchodilator inhaler. This contraction can be intense enough to be life-threatening. In such a case, stop using the preparation immediately and use another quick-acting inhaled bronchodilator and seek medical attention.

Dosage of Ventolin

Use the preparation according to the doctor’s recommendations. Do not exceed the recommended doses, as it will not increase the effectiveness of the drug and may harm your health and life. If you have any doubts about the use of the preparation, consult your doctor. It is recommended to take the preparation on an ad hoc basis. Unless otherwise prescribed by your doctor, the usual doses are:

Aerosol:

  • Adults: For the termination of a sudden bronchospasm: 1 to 2 doses (100 to 200 µg).
  • Preventive before exercise or contact with an allergen: 2 doses (2 times 100 µg each) 10–15 min. before exercise or contact with an allergen.
  • Children: For the termination of bronchospasm and before exercise or contact with an allergen: 1 to 2 doses (100 to 200 µg).

Remember to never exceed 8 doses (800 µg) per day. Children should take their doses under the supervision of an adult.

Inhalation fluid from the nebulizer:

Adults and children: The dose of the drug depends on the severity and type of the disease. Usually a single dose of 2.5 to 5 mg is sufficient. If necessary, the dose can be repeated up to 4 times a day. Larger doses (in adults up to 40 mg) may only be used in a hospital setting.

Can I use other preparations in parallel?

Tell your doctor about all medications you have recently taken, including those over the counter.

In particular, inform your doctor if you use or have used:

  • other drugs that stimulate adrenergic receptors (sympathomimetics), e.g. fenoterol, formeterol, salmeterol, phenylephrine, pseudoephedrine, adrenaline
  • beta-adrenergic blockers (sympatholytics from the group of beta-blockers, so-called “beta-blockers”) such as: propranolol, metoprolol
  • medicines for diabetes
  • xanthine derivatives (e.g. theophylline)
  • diuretics (e.g. furosemide)
  • steroids.

Interactions of salbutamol and other drugs acting on adrenergic receptors may have a detrimental effect on the cardiovascular system. Beta-adrenergic blockers (so-called “beta-blockers” used, for example, in the treatment of high blood pressure or heart problems) inhibit the effect of salbutamol and should not be used concurrently with salbutamol.

Salbutamol may reduce the effect of antidiabetic drugs. If you are taking salbutamol or other beta2-agonists, you may develop a potentially severe form of hypokalemia (severe symptoms of potassium deficiency), especially if you are also taking diuretics (used to treat high blood pressure, for example) or have severe xanthine-treated asthma ( e.g. theophylline) or corticosteroids. Consult your doctor if you should have regular blood potassium levels checked and how often you should have these tests.


Important note:

This patient information is published for educational purposes only. The instructions and product properties quoted on this page follow the guidelines outlines by the drug manufacturer, but do not replicate it in all fullness. We strongly advise against using this information as a call to action of any kind, be it purchasing or using the drug without a proper medical consultation carried out first. Trademarks, names of companies and eventual studies are inserted for informational purposes and as a legal reference and respect for the copyright law and ethics.