A healthcare provider may prescribe metaproterenol to treat bronchospasms caused by asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The medication works by opening up the airways so that more air can get into and through the lungs. It can be taken during an asthma attack or on a regular basis to prevent attacks. In clinical studies, the drug started working within five minutes, and its effects typically lasted for five hours.
Metaproterenol is no longer available in the United States. The manufacturer of this medication decided to stop making it in order to comply with regulations concerning chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), chemicals that may deplete the ozone layer. The product was rarely used anymore; had it been more popular, the manufacturer probably would have chosen to reformulate it without CFCs, instead of just discontinuing it.
This article focuses on the metaproterenol inhaler. Metaproterenol also comes in tablets, syrup, and a solution that is inhaled using a machine called a nebulizer.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: Approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed April 10, 2007.
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National Library of Medicine (US). Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMED). NLM Web site. Available at: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?LACT. Accessed April 10, 2007.
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