The prescription drug albuterol is used to treat asthma and other similar lung conditions (such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis) in adults and children as young as two years old. Albuterol works by opening up the airways to allow more air into and out of the lungs. Some off-label albuterol uses can include treating high potassium in the blood and treating breathing problems associated with respiratory infections (such as the flu or pneumonia).
What Is Albuterol Used For?Albuterol is a prescription medication used to treat asthma and other similar lung problems. It is part of a class of asthma drugs known as beta-adrenergic receptor agonists, or beta agonists for short.
Albuterol for Bronchospasms Due to Asthma or COPDAsthma is a chronic disease that affects your airways, which are the tubes that carry air into and out of your lungs. When you have asthma, the inside walls of your airways are inflamed (swollen). The inflammation makes the airways very sensitive, and they tend to react strongly to things that you are allergic to or find irritating. When the airways react, they narrow and reduce the airflow to your lungs. This is called a bronchospasm, and it causes asthma symptoms like wheezing (a whistling sound when you breathe), coughing, tightness in the chest, and trouble breathing.
Although there is no asthma cure, the symptoms of asthma can be controlled. Albuterol is one of the most commonly used medications for asthma treatment. While albuterol is often inhaled (using an inhaler or nebulizer), it can also be taken orally, such as with albuterol syrup or albuterol tablets.
Asthma is not the only cause of bronchospasms. Albuterol can also treat bronchospasms due to other lung problems, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Some forms of albuterol are also approved to treat exercise-induced asthma (see Asthma and Exercise for more information).