Albuterol is an inhaled beta-2 adrenergic agonist that relaxes smooth muscle to cause Bronchodilation. This improves symptoms in patients with Asthma, including Bronchospasm. Patients taking albuterol may likely experience headache, tachycardia, and insomnia. Other reactions include tremors, seizures, hypokalemia, and hyperglycemia.

Key Points

albuterol [al BYOO ter ole] (Proventil)

  • Mechanism of Action 
    • Stimulates beta-2 receptors to induce bronchodilation
      • Relaxes smooth muscles in bronchi
    • Short-acting (fast onset, short duration)
      • Contrast vs. Salmeterol, which has a long duration of action
  • Clinical Use
    • Bronchospasm (esp. Asthma)
      • Rescue inhaler in asthmatics
      • Improves symptoms in anaphylaxis, bronchitis, acute exacerbation of COPD
    • Acute Hyperkalemia
      • Reduces serum potassium levels by increasing K+ uptake by cells
  • Side Effects and Adverse Reactions
    • Tremor
      • insomnia, headache and seizure are also seen
    • Tachycardia/palpitations
      • Life-threatening arrhythmias may occur
      • Use with caution in patients with severe cardiac disease
    • Hypokalemia
    • Hyperglycemia
      • Use caution in patient with DM