Precautions and Warnings With Levalbuterol HFA
Before starting a new medication, it is important to know all of the drug's precautions and warnings. With levalbuterol HFA, these include watching for worsening breathing problems, letting your healthcare provider know about all existing medical conditions, and being aware of possible side effects that may occur if you are using the inhaler while pregnant. Potential side effects of levalbuterol HFA include high or low blood pressure, fast heart rate, and irregular heart rhythm.
You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking levalbuterol HFA (Xopenex HFA®) if you have:
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- A fast heart rate (tachycardia)
- An irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia)
- Other types of heart disease, including congestive heart failure
- An overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)
- Seizures or epilepsy
- Any allergies, including allergies to food, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about all other medicines you may be taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Some warnings and precautions to be aware of with levalbuterol HFA include the following:
- Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you are using levalbuterol HFA more frequently than usual. Asthma symptoms can worsen very quickly and can become a medical emergency.
- Using levalbuterol HFA alone is rarely the best asthma treatment. Your healthcare provider should consider adding additional asthma medications.
- Rarely, levalbuterol HFA can cause a worsening of bronchospasms (spasms of the airways), which is exactly the opposite of what should happen. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if levalbuterol HFA makes your asthma worse.
- Levalbuterol HFA can have a stimulatory effect on the heart and blood pressure. Fast heart rate (tachycardia), high blood pressure (hypertension), and irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia) may occur, although low blood pressure (hypotension) is also possible. If you have heart disease or high blood pressure, make sure your healthcare provider is aware of it. He or she may wish to use particular caution when recommending levalbuterol HFA in your case.
- People with an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism), diabetes, or epilepsy should use caution when using levalbuterol HFA, as the medication may worsen these conditions or increase the risk of side effects.
- Do not puncture the levalbuterol HFA canister or keep it near open flame, as the contents are under pressure.
- Levalbuterol HFA can interact with other medications (see Drug Interactions With Levalbuterol HFA).
- Levalbuterol HFA is considered a pregnancy Category C medication. This means that it may not be safe to use during pregnancy. Talk to your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of using levalbuterol HFA during pregnancy (see Xopenex HFA and Pregnancy for more information).
- It is not known if levalbuterol HFA passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start breastfeeding, be sure to talk with your healthcare provider about using levalbuterol HFA (see Xopenex HFA and Breastfeeding for more information).