Asthma Home > Metaproterenol

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.

What Is Metaproterenol?

Metaproterenol sulfate (Alupent®) is a prescription medication that is used to treat bronchospasms. While bronchospasms are most common in people with asthma, they can also occur in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
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.
(Click What Is Metaproterenol Used For? for more information on what metaproterenol is used for, including possible off-label uses.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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