A healthcare provider may prescribe Ventolin to treat or prevent airway spasms, as well as to prevent exercise-induced asthma attacks. The medication works by opening up the airways and allowing more air to get into and through the lungs. Ventolin comes in a metered-dose inhaler. Some people take it only when they need it (during an asthma attack), while others take it regularly to help prevent attacks. Side effects of this medication can include throat irritation, coughing, and respiratory infections.
Normally, air moves easily into and out of the lungs through a network of airways. However, during an asthma attack, the muscles around these airways tighten. This narrows the airways and makes it harder to breathe. This is called a bronchospasm.
Ventolin is part of a class of drugs called beta-adrenergic receptor agonists, or beta agonists for short. Beta agonists stimulate beta receptors in the body, including those on the muscles around the airways. This stimulation causes the muscles to relax, which opens up the airways and allows more air to get into and through the lungs.
Ventolin also has some effects on decreasing the activity of mast cells in the lungs, which play an important role in inflammation and allergic reactions.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Ventolin HFA [package insert]. Research Triangle Park NC: GlaxoSmithKline;2005 April.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: Approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed April 2, 2007.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 7th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2005.
National Library of Medicine (US). Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMED). NLM Web site. Available at: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?LACT. Accessed April 2, 2007.
eMedTV serves only as an informational resource. This site does not dispense medical advice or advice of any kind.
Site users seeking medical advice about their specific situation should consult with their own physician. Click