Ventolin Oral Liquid

Brand Name:Apo-Salvent, Apo-Salvent sterules, Airomir, Gen-Salbutamol Respirator Solution, Gen-Salbutamol Sterinebs P.F., Nu-Salbutamol Solution, ratio-Salbutamol HFA, Sandoz Salbutamol, Ventolin Diskus, Ventolin HFA, Ventolin Injection, Combivent (combination product with ipratropium)

Prescription needed: Yes

What is this drug used for?

Salmeterol is a long-acting medicine that is used to treat and prevent breathing problems associated with asthma, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema. It works by relaxing the muscles in the airways of the lungs. It is not prescribed to relieve acute symptoms. Other shorter-acting bronchodilators are available for this purpose.

Is there any reason not to take this drug?

You should not take this drug if you are allergic to salbutamol. Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had:

  • diabetes
  • heart problems
  • high blood pressure
  • hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland) that is not well controlled
  • low amounts of potassium in the body
  • seizures

If you have a history of severe allergic reaction to lactose, you should not use the Ventolin Diskus product.

Always disclose your full medical history with the medical team that is taking care of you, in order for them to provide you with the safest and most effective care.

What about possible side effects?

The following side effects are related to salbutamol only. If you have the combination product Combivent, please see ipratropium to get information on other possible side effects.

This medication is usually well tolerated but you should be aware of some potential side effects. The following list of more common side effects can be quite bothersome, but unless they are severe, you should continue taking salbutamol as prescribed. These side effects are much less common with salbutamol dosage forms that are inhaled. Contact your doctor or pharmacist to get advice on how to manage these side effects.

  • anxiety
  • muscle tremors, particularly in the hands
  • nausea
  • restlessness
  • difficulty sleeping
  • dry throat

Other less common side effects include:

  • headache
  • heart palpitations
  • muscle cramps
  • increase in blood sugar (important for diabetics – test your blood sugar more often when you start using salbutamol)
  • decrease in blood potassium

Other less common but potentially serious side effects include:

  • severe skin rash, difficulty breathing or swallowing, hives all over the body or near the face and throat – signs of an allergic reaction - stop taking salbutamol and get emergency medical help immediately
  • increased difficulty breathing – consult with your doctor as soon as possible

This is not a complete list of side effects. If you are concerned about these or other unusual symptoms while taking this medication, ask your doctor and/or pharmacist for more information and advice.

What if I am taking other drugs?

Always provide your doctor with a list of all other drugs you are taking (including over-the-counter medications and herbal/natural products) as they may interact with and/or may change the safety or effectiveness of either drug. Tell your doctor specifically if you are taking:

  • Medications in the classes of amphetamines, epinephrine, phenylephrine, or [pseudoephedrine] - may increase the risk of side effects. Many nonprescription products contain these medications (e.g., diet pills and medications for colds). Talk to your doctor or pharmacist
  • Beta blockers (e.g. metoprolol, timolol, propranolol, labetalol, carvedilol, nadolol, pindolol, sotalol) - may reduce the effects of salbutamol.
  • Theophylline, prednisone, methylprednisolone, dexamethasone, furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide – may increase risk of having low blood potassium
  • Long-acting inhaled drugs that expand the airways, similar to salbutamol (e.g. formoterol, salmeterol) – increases risk of side effects – if you are using formoterol or salmeterol regularly, you may only need to use salbutamol once in awhile
  • short-acting drugs that help with breathing (e.g. terbutaline, fenoterol) – you should only be using one of these drugs at a time - increases risks of side effects such as tremor, anxiety, heart palpitations
  • Ma huang, ephedra, certain types of ginseng, caffeine – may increase risks of having tremors, difficulty sleeping, racing heart
  • amiodarone, quinidine, disopyramide, sotalol, propafenone, procainamide, thioridazine, haloperidol - may increase your chances of having heart rhythm problems
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) e.g. phenelzine (brand name Nardil), tranylcypromine (brand name Parnate), moclobemide (brand name Manerix, generics available) isocarboxazid (available in the U.S.A. under the brand name Marplan) – risk of a serious rise in blood pressure – be aware of this while taking an MAOI or until 14 days after stopping an MAOI
  • digoxin – possible lower levels of digoxin in the body

This is not a complete list of side effects. If you are concerned about these or other unusual symptoms while taking this medication, ask your doctor and/or pharmacist for more information and advice.

Other information:

Special Instructions

Salbutamol is often prescribed to use together with other drugs called inhaled corticosteroids such as beclomethasone (e.g. Qvar), budesonide (e.g. Pulmicort) or fluticasone (e.g. Flovent) and is not meant to replace treatment with these drugs. You must continue treatment with these drugs as prescribed.

If you find that salbutamol is not helping your breathing condition as well as it did before, or if you find you need several doses to get the desired effect, you should see your doctor as soon as possible. Your breathing condition could worsen very quickly.

Salbutamol may not work for you if you are not using the puffer device properly. Check with your pharmacist to see if you are using the puffer correctly.

It is important that you bring your salbutamol inhaler with you wherever you go – this is your rescue medication – if you are having breathing problems, salbutamol should help within minutes.

Children: Check with your doctor if your child is less than 4 years old.

Seniors: May be more sensitive to effects. Lower dose may be necessary, especially at the start of therapy.

Pregnancy: Inhaled dosage forms are safe for use at normal doses.

Women who are nursing: Unknown if salbutamol passes into breast milk. Much lower risk if you are using an inhaled dosage form of salbutamol Talk to your doctor.

People who drive or operate machinery: Should not do so until they know how this drug affects them personally. May cause unsteady hands.

Alcohol: If you drink, always drink in moderation.

Overdose: Taking too much salbutamol can be very serious and may cause your heart to race and an increase in blood pressure. If you suspect that a large dose has been taken and/or notice any unusual symptoms, see a doctor.

Stopping the drug: Talk to your doctor before you stop taking this drug as your original symptoms may recur without the medication.

If you miss a dose: Take as required, but never double dose. If you miss your scheduled dose, take it when you need it for your breathing, then continue at that point to take as prescribed on your prescription label.

Storage conditions: Closed container; cool, dry location away from excess moisture (not in the bathroom) and light; always out of reach of children. Follow safety recommendations on the container. Keep inhaler spray-type devices, or puffers, away from any direct sources of heat (e.g. oven, radiator).

Dietary precautions: No specific recommendations.