Asthma Home > Brethine

Brethine is a medicine that is licensed for the treatment of asthma and emphysema in both adults and children. It works by causing muscles around the airways to relax, which opens up the airways and allows more air to get into and through the lungs to improve breathing. Brethine, which is available by prescription, comes in tablet form and is generally taken three times a day. Side effects may include headaches, drowsiness, nervousness, and shakiness.

What Is Brethine?

Brethine® (terbutaline sulfate) is a prescription medication used to treat asthma and emphysema in adults and children ages 12 and older.
(Click Brethine Uses for more information on what the medication is used for, including possible off-label uses.)

Who Makes Brethine?

While brand-name Brethine is no longer available, generic Brethine is available and is made by a few different manufacturers.

How Does It Work?

Normally, air moves easily into and out of the lungs through a network of airways. During an asthma attack, however, the muscles around these airways tighten. This narrows the airways and makes it harder to breathe. This is called bronchospasm.
Brethine 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 airways. This stimulation causes the muscles to relax, which opens up the airways and allows more air to get into and through the lungs.
Brethine 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:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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