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Albuterol was the 10th most commonly prescribed drug in the United States in 2017. That year alone, there were approximately 50,286,686 prescriptions. Considering how popular this drug is right now, it pays to know a little bit more about this medication, including how long albuterol stays in your system.

The FDA states the following information regarding albuterol sulfate inhalation aerosol (PRO-AIR HFA, specifically) half-life:

Mean effective half-life:  4.8 hours

Time to steady-state:  7 days

Mean accumulation ratio: 1.67

Terminal phase half-life: 4.5 hours

The body readily absorbs albuterol and begins working within 15 minutes of inhalation. The liver metabolizes the drug, and its primary route of elimination is through renal excretion of the primary metabolite or the parent compound, with approximately 80 percent being excreted via urine.

FAQ

What is the half-life of albuterol?

According to PubChem, the elimination half-life of inhaled albuterol is 2.7 to 5 hours.

How long does albuterol stay in your system?

It takes roughly 4 to 5 half-lives for the body to clear a substance, which means it can take up to 25 hours–a little over a day–for the body to rid itself of albuterol. Detectable amounts and drug detection windows for certain drug tests are as follows:

  • Urine: According to Drugbank.ca, albuterol has a renal clearance of 272 +/- 38 ml/min following oral administration; in horses, a urine test 24 hours after last dose detected no albuterol
  • Nasal swab: In horses, albuterol can be detected by nasal swabs within 8 to possibly 72 hours after their final dose
  • Alcohol breathalyzer test: This drug contains no alcohol; as such, it should not make anyone fail a breathalyzer test
  • Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM): Research suggests that albuterol use could result in CGM interference

Can you use albuterol more than every 4 hours?

The effects of this drug should last from four to six hours. Using this medication more frequently than recommended could result in serious consequences, including death.

Disclaimer: this article does not constitute or replace medical advice. If you have an emergency or a serious medical question, please contact a medical professional or call 911 immediately. To see our full medical disclaimer, visit our Terms of Use page.


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