Albuterol for Nebulization: Uses, Dosages & Treatment

Albuterol is an excellent remedy that helps to cope with severe coughing, bronchospasm, seizures and other symptoms of bronchus and lung diseases. Nebulization treatment allows you to achieve a positive effect already on the first day of therapy. However, it is required to strictly observe the dosage and frequency of administration indicated by the doctor since the drug has some contraindications and is able to cause a fairly wide range of adverse reactions.

Albuterol nebulizer

How does albuterol nebulizer work?

This bronchodilator has a pronounced stimulating effect on the beta2-adrenoreceptors of the bronchi, blood vessels, and myometrium. It prevents or stops spasms of the bronchi, reduces resistance in the airways. Increases mucociliary clearance, stimulates the secretion of mucus, activates the function of ciliated epithelium. It prevents the development of allergen-induced bronchospasm. The drug in the recommended therapeutic doses does not cause an increase in blood pressure.

Albuterol starts working 5 minutes after inhalation, in rare cases – 30-90 minutes after inhalation (in 75% of cases, the effect is achieved within 5 minutes), the duration is 3-6 hours.

Uses of albuterol nebulizer

Albuterol nebulizer machine is used to treat:

  • bronchial asthma;
  • COPD, accompanied by reversible airway obstruction;
  • chronical bronchitis;
  • chest congestion;
  • cough;
  • toddler cough;
  • pneumonia.

The drug is also used for children from the age of 2 years. In some cases, nebulized albuterol is used in the treatment of wheezing infants under the age of two in the emergency department.

The drug is even used for cats and dogs. It is most often used in cats, as dogs are rarely affected by true airway constriction. Albuterol nebulizer will help your cat to cope with an asthma attack within 5-10 minutes. Keep in mind that the drug can cause increased heart rate, tremors, excitability, and weight loss. However, these reactions occur rarely in most cats. In dogs, albuterol is usually administered orally as a tablet or liquid. In the hospital setting, your dog may also be given this medication in a nebulizer.

How to use albuterol nebulizer?

Read the patient information leaflet provided by your pharmacist before you start using the drug. Albuterol is used with a special nebulizer machine that turns the solution into a fine mist that you inhale. If the child uses this drug, the procedure must be controlled by the parent or another responsible adult.

The solution should be at room temperature since a cold solution can provoke a cough effect and a hot solution can burn. The only rule before using the solution in a nebulizer is to bring it to room temperature.

how to use albuterol nebulizer

Your nebulizer also should be prepared for use:

  • Wash all nozzles and removable covers in warm, soapy water;
  • Dry all the details with a towel or wait until they self-dry;
  • Your nebulizer is ready to use, you can proceed to inhalation.

Instructions for further action:

  • Place albuterol solution in a special chamber in the nebulizer;
  • Attach the mask for inhalation to it;
  • Connect the nebulizer compressor with the help of a tube with a solution in a special chamber;
  • Press the “on” button and proceed to inhalation.

After the procedure, you need to remove the remnants of the solution and wash the nebulizer properly. Inhalation should be carried out according to indications of the attending physician and according to the specified dosage.

How often to use albuterol nebulizer?

The dosage depends on your health condition, age, weight and response to treatment. Do not increase the dose or use this drug more often than prescribed without consulting your doctor.

The average dosage for prevention of bronchospasm: Adults and children older than 12 years of age—2.5 mg in the nebulizer 3-4 times per day as needed. Children 2 to 12 years of age—0.63 to 1.25 mg 3-4 times per day as needed.

In asthma exacerbations, it is recommended to use albuterol nebulizer every 2–4 hours as needed. If the condition worsens or improvement lasts less than two hours, it is recommended to call an ambulance immediately.

Frequent use of this medication can lead to increased bronchospasm, sudden death, so you must take breaks of several hours (6 hours) between taking the next dose of medication. These intervals can be reduced in exceptional cases only. If you are using this drug on a fixed schedule and skip the dose, use it as soon as you remember. If it is close to the next dose, skip the missed dose. Use the next dose at the usual time. Do not double the dose to make up for lost time.

Side effects

In some cases, albuterol nebulizer can cause side effects:

  • Common side effects: palpitations, tachycardia (during pregnancy – in the mother and fetus), headache, tremor, nervous tension;
  • Infrequent side effects: dizziness, insomnia, muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting, sweating;
  • Rare side effects: allergic reactions (urticaria, skin rash, angioedema, paradoxical bronchospasm, erythema multiforme, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, arrhythmia, chest pain, hypokalemia, neuropsychiatric disorders (including psychomotor agitation, disorientation, memory impairment, aggression, panic condition, hallucinations, suicidal attempts, schizophrenia-like disorders, urinary retention.

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above (especially in infants and toddlers), consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Many people using this medicine do not have serious side effects. Very serious allergic reactions are rare. However, you should seek medical help immediately if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction.

Who cannot use albuterol nebulizer?

Contraindications for albuterol inhalation include hypersensitivity to the drug, ischemic heart disease, severe heart failure, arrhythmia, myocarditis, heart defects, aortic stenosis, decompensated diabetes, glaucoma, epileptic fits, pyloroduodenal narrowing, adrenal gland, a violation of the liver function, pregnancy, simultaneous use of non-selective beta-blockers, children under 2 years of age.

With caution: chronic heart failure, arterial hypertension, hyperthyroidism, pheochromocytoma, thyrotoxicosis, breastfeeding.

Does albuterol interact with anything?

Drug interactions can reduce the effectiveness of your medication or increase the risk of serious side effects. When using albuterol nebulizer, you should avoid stimulants of the central nervous system (ephedrine and theophylline), prostaglandin synthesis inhibitors, corticosteroids, MAO blockers, tricyclic antidepressants, levodopa, inhalation anesthesia, antihypertensive drugs, beta-blockers (including ophthalmic forms), nitrates, glycoside drugs.

Albuterol inhaler vs nebulizer

albuterol nebulizer vs inhaler

An inhaler is a device designed to administer a drug into the respiratory tract by inhalation. The therapeutic agent is heated to produce steam that easily reaches the problem area and has a therapeutic effect on the top of the respiratory tract.

A nebulizer is a device that turns liquid medicine into an aerosol. The patient inhales small particles and they quickly reach the desired zone of the lower respiratory tract and larynx.

That is, both devices deliver the medicinal substance to the required area of the respiratory canal. The nebulizer acts on the lower respiratory tract. When it works, the medicinal solution is broken down into tiny particles, this is exactly how a nebulizer is different from an inhaler. For example, the steam inhaler liquid converts into steam and affects only the upper respiratory tract.

A nebulizer is used to treat severe diseases of the lower respiratory tract and larynx – bronchitis, asthma, pneumonia, etc. Some diseases have serious complications, for example, asthma is accompanied by shortness of breath and severe coughing. In this case, the best way out is to use a nebulizer that delivers medicinal substances directly to the bronchi.

The greatest benefit of the nebulizer is that it is able to deliver the drug directly to the respiratory tract. As a result, the introduction will be much more effective and will be accompanied by a lower incidence of side effects. Besides, nebulizers can be used in small children. The drug enters the respiratory tract without synchronization with the breath (which is especially convenient in children).

Can you mix Pulmicort and albuterol in a nebulizer?

The prescribing information for Pulmicort states that the inhalation suspension can be mixed with albuterol, however, you must consult a doctor before mixing any inhalation solutions.

Does albuterol sulfate for nebulizer expire?

Different brands of this medication have different storage needs. Store the drug at room temperature or in a refrigerator as indicated on the package. Do not freeze the medication. This medicine may need to be stored in a refrigerator after opening. Check the product packaging for instructions on how to store your medication or ask your pharmacist. Do not store the drug in the bathroom. Do not use expired albuterol sulfate for nebulizer! Discard the drug when it expired. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company for more details on how to safely dispose of your product.

How to use albuterol without nebulizer?

The oral version of the drug (inhalers, nebulizers) is the most popular treatment option for acute asthma attacks. The drug is also supplied in the form of tablets of 2 mg, 4 mg, or 8 mg each, so you can use albuterol without nebulizer if necessary.