When it comes to Proventil, uses of the medication include the treatment and prevention of bronchospasms (also known as airway spasms) caused by asthma and other lung problems. Because Proventil is a short-acting medicine, it is useful for treating asthma attacks or preventing exercise-induced asthma attacks. Some "off-label" Proventil uses involve the treatment of difficulty breathing that may occur with respiratory infections, such as pneumonia or the flu.
Proventil® (albuterol inhaler) 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.
Proventil comes in an inhaler. However, the traditional Proventil inhaler is being replaced by Proventil® HFA, a more environmentally friendly albuterol inhaler. A Proventil solution for use in a nebulizer is also available
(see Albuterol Solution).
(This article focuses on the traditional Proventil inhaler, which will no longer be available after December 2008. For more information on the new, environmentally friendly inhaler, see Proventil HFA.)
Asthma is a chronic disease that affects your airways, which are the tubes that carry air into and out of your lungs. If 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 less air flows to your lungs. This is called bronchospasm and causes asthma symptoms like wheezing (a whistling sound when you breathe), coughing, tightness in the chest, and trouble breathing.
While there is no asthma cure, the disease can be controlled. There are many different asthma treatments, and Proventil represents one of the most basic and most important types of treatment for asthma relief. Proventil is a "rescue" asthma inhaler, which can help improve breathing very quickly. Even if you take other asthma controller medications, it is important to always have a rescue asthma medication available to relieve an attack.
Proventil is approved to both treat and prevent asthma attacks. Because it is short-acting, it is not necessarily the best asthma medication for preventing asthma in general. However, it is an excellent medication for treating asthma attacks or preventing exercise-induced asthma attacks (see Asthma and Exercise).
Asthma is not the only cause of bronchospasm. Proventil can also treat bronchospasm caused by other lung problems, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.