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What should physicians and patients alike know about using albuterol for asthma?  


Dosage will vary from one patient to the next. Regardless of dose, it is vital that patients follow their prescription or the directions provided on the label. The information below only includes average doses of albuterol (salbutamol). If you take a different dose than those listed below, do not change your dosage without speaking to your physician.

The amount of medicine a patient takes depends on how strong the albuterol they are taking is. In addition, the number of doses, time between doses, and the length of time a patient takes the medication can vary by patient.


Dosage information for the albuterol inhaler includes the following. However, no one should take this medication as the following information states over the explicit directions of their prescribing physician.

To treat bronchospasm:

  • Children under the age of 4 will need to have their dose determined by their pediatrician
  • Adults and children who are at least 4 years old are usually prescribed two puffs of salbutamol every four to six hours as needed; dosage amount ranges from 90 to180 mcg

To prevent the onset of an exercise-induced bronchospasm:

  • Children who or younger than 4 need to have their pediatrician determine their dose
  • Adults and children who are 4 years old and above are typically prescribed two puffs of albuterol/salbutamol 15 to 30 minutes before exercising; dosage amount ranges from 90 to 180 mcg

Dosage information for inhalation with the use of a nebulizer:

To prevent a bronchospasm:

  • Children who are under the age of 2 must have their usage and dose determined by their pediatrician
  • Children ranging in age from 2 to 12 years are usually prescribed 0.63 to 1.25 mg three to four times a day, as needed
  • Children who are older than 12 and adults are typically prescribed 2.5 mg three or four times a day, as needed

Potential Side Effects

  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • General body pain
  • Trembling of the hands or feet
  • Shakiness (hands, arms, legs and/or feet)
  • Upper respiratory inflammation
  • Viral respiratory infections

Potential Serious Side Effects:

  • Arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat)
  • Abnormal heart rate
  • Paradoxical bronchospasm (sudden coughing and wheezing from airway constriction)
  • Severe allergic reaction
  • Low potassium level (hypokalemia)
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Severe allergic reaction

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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