General Information on Metaproterenol
How Does Metaproterenol 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 a bronchospasm.
Metaproterenol 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.
Metaproterenol also has some effects on decreasing the activity of mast cells in the lungs. Mast cells play an important role in inflammation and allergic reactions.
Effects of MetaproterenolIn clinical studies, metaproterenol started working within five minutes, and the effects of metaproterenol typically lasted for five hours.
When and How to Take ItFollowing are some general considerations for when and how to take metaproterenol:
- Metaproterenol comes in a metered-dose inhaler (called an "MDI").
- Some people take it only when they need it (during an asthma attack), while others take it regularly to help prevent attacks.
- You should "test spray" the metaproterenol inhaler before you use it for the very first time, or if you have not used it for a long period of time. To test spray the inhaler, spray it into the air by pressing on the top of the canister.
- Shake your metaproterenol asthma inhaler gently before each use.
- Wait at least one minute in between inhalations.
- It is important to learn exactly how to use your inhaler. It may be difficult at first and may require some practice.
- The spray should be inhaled into the lungs, not sprayed onto the back of the throat and swallowed. To accomplish this, you will need to breathe in while spraying the inhaler.
- Most people put the mouthpiece of the inhaler directly into their mouths. However, many healthcare providers now recommend placing the inhaler an inch or two away from the mouth. Talk with your healthcare provider about the best way for you to use the inhaler.
- Each inhaler contains 200 sprays (or 100 sprays for a "sample" inhaler). Try to keep track of approximately how many sprays you have used in order to know when to replace the inhaler. Do not place the inhaler in water to see if it is empty (although doing so was recommended in the past).
- For metaproterenol to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed. It will not work if you stop taking it.