Salbutamol: Uses, Side Effects, and Effects

Salbutamol is a β2-selective adreno-receptor agonist that has demonstrated bronchodilatory effects. Salbutamol uses and effects are mentioned below-


It’s used in children, adolescents, and adults too.

  1. Prevention and treatment of reversible obstructive airways disease, particularly Asthma
  2. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  3. It can also be given by injection, e.g. in asthma when the inhaler doesn’t reduce symptoms, premature labour (β2 receptor) and cardiac inotropic (β1) effect in heart failure (where the β2-vasodilator action is also useful).
  4. To prevent bronchoconstriction due to a trigger such as exercise or exposure to pets.


Additional information:

  • Though it can be given through oral and parenteral (injection) routes the most effective and the best route of administration is inhalation.
  • By inhalation, drug action begins in about 10-15 minutes and the peak effect is usually within 30 minutes.
  • Patient experience prompt benefit with reduction in coughing, wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath.


  • As per requirement, 1 or 2 puffs of salbutamol
  •  frequency should not exceed 4 times/day (irrespective of 1 or 2 puffs of salbutamol, at a time)

However, it should be noted that the use of inhaler more than 4times daily means

  • Salbutamol treatment is not effective
  • This may lead to side effects and adverse effect


General Side Effects


Salbutamol- Inhalation: Inhaled Salbutamol, properly administered, have the advantages of smaller doses and fewer side effects.

  • Palpitations (10%)
  • Sinus tachycardia (10%),
  • Anxiety (10%),
  • Tremors (15%)
  • Increased blood pressure (5%),
  • Nausea and vomiting (6%),
  • Throat irritation (6%),
  • Dyspepsia (5%),
  • Insomnia (3%),
  • Heachaches (3%),
  • Epistaxis (3%),
  • Cough (2%),
  • Dizziness (1%),
  • Nightmares (1%),
  • Hostility (1%).

Rarely, urticaria, angioedema, maculopapular rash, bronchospasm, hoarseness, and oropharyngeal edema and glaucoma, if the drug gets deposited directly on the narrow, angled- eyes.


Common adverse reactions to Salbutamol – oral /parenteral:

  • Tremors (10-20% )
  • Anxiety (9-20%)
  • Headaches (4-7%)
  • Sinus tachycardia and palpitations (2-5%)
  • Hyperkinesis (2-4%)
  • Dizziness (2-3%)
  • Muscle cramps (1-3%)
  • Insomnia (1-2%)
  • Nausea/vomiting (1-4%)
  • Excitability (2%)



  • The rapid relief of symptoms provided by salbutamol may invite misuse and overuse, particularly in adolescents.
  • Salbutamol taken in large doses can also induce Hyperglycemia and Hypokalemia due to the stimulation of beta2-receptors, resulting in gluconeogenesis and intracellular movement of potassium.
  • As an adrenoceptor agonist, salbutamol can in a small number of cases induce adverse cardiovascular effects such as hypertension (in 3% of patients), angina ( in less than 1%), or arrhythmia exacerbation or precipitation, particularly in patients already suffering from some form of cardiovascular disease.

References: Salbutamol- biochemistry Salbutamol inhaler Salbutamol article Salbutamol review

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