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.
What Is Ventolin?Ventolin HFA® (albuterol inhaler) is a prescription medication used to treat or prevent airway spasms (called bronchospasms). Bronchospasms are most common in people with asthma. However, they can also occur in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Ventolin is also approved to prevent exercise-induced asthma attacks.
Unlike older inhalers (including the old Ventolin inhaler, which is no longer manufactured), Ventolin HFA is an environmentally friendly albuterol inhaler.
(Click Ventolin Uses for more information on what it is used for, including possible off-label uses.)
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 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.