Asthma Home > Xopenex

Xopenex is used to treat and prevent asthma attacks. It can also be used to treat and prevent airway spasms in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The medication works by opening up the airways that become constricted during an attack. It comes in a liquid form that is used in a nebulizer. Side effects of Xopenex include viral infections, shakiness, and a runny nose.

What Is Xopenex?

Xopenex® (levalbuterol hydrochloride) is a prescription medication used to treat or prevent airway spasms (called bronchospasms). Bronchospasms are most common in people with asthma, but can also occur in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
 
Xopenex is used in a nebulizer, a device that changes liquid medications into fine droplets that are inhaled into the lungs. Xopenex also comes in an inhaler (see Xopenex HFA for more information).
 
(Click Xopenex Uses for more information, including possible off-label uses for the drug.)
 

Who Makes Xopenex?

It is made by Sunovion Pharmaceuticals.
 

How Does It Work?

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 bronchospasm.
 
Xopenex 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. Xopenex also has some effects on decreasing the activity of mast cells in the lungs, which play an important role in inflammation and allergic reactions.
 
Xopenex is similar to another medication, albuterol. While albuterol products contain both the inactive and active forms of the molecule, Xopenex contains only the active form of the albuterol molecule.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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