Albuterol Side Effects

Most Common Albuterol Side Effects

Albuterol, same as about any other medical compound out there, is not perfect, and has a defined set of possible adverse reactions that may surface during the treatment. These side effects are rarely disturbing enough to make you want to stop the treatment, but should still be noticed and observed in case they affect your asthma treatment plan.

Some of the frequent side effects of albuterol may include:

  • Throat irritation, the most common side effect, happens in 10% of cases.
  • Viral infections of the respiratory tract are about 7% more common in patients taking albuterol.
  • Inflammation of the throat and larynx (the voice box), causing hoarseness affects over 5% of patients.
  • Cough of varying severity is registered to occur in 5% of cases.
  • Mild muscle pain - perhaps the most unpleasant side effects, happens for fewer than 5% of patients.

Please remember that although these side effects of albuterol inhaler are indicated as being fairly common, this estimation is made from a purely statistical point of view - it is very likely that you will not experience any negative reactions during the treatment.

Not so Common Side Effects of Albuterol

Some reactions tend to occur less frequently. That does not make them more dangerous or severe, at least not in this particular case; it just means that some albuterol side effects ail an even smaller segment of people taking this drug. The effects listed in the segment below were documented to be present in fewer than 3% of people participating in a controlled study. While it is certain that these effects were observed in people using an albuterol-based inhaler, it is not known whether they were caused by the active component in particular, or by other minute substances contained within the medication, such as propellants, preservatives, and others.

The effects may include:

  • Diarrhea - it is usually non persistent and tends to occur only occasionally, if the patients report at least one case over the course of treatment. Several theories attempt to correlate gastrointestinal side effects of albuterol inhaler to a particular diet of the patient, but so far no conclusive results have been established.
  • Dizziness, Vertigo - the sensation of spinning, or vertigo, is indicated here as the rarest of all symptoms related to balance and orientation that can be caused by albuterol, it was perceived in under 1% of all cases. Mild dizziness may be present due to specific reactions occurring within the vestibular system, which may be indirectly affected by using an inhaled medication.
  • Headaches - these sensations of pain and/or pressure are not often included within the side effect reports if their occurrence is under 5% of all cases, mainly due to the fact that headaches can be triggered by an extremely wide variety of causes, most of which are not fully understood to this day.
  • Sleep problems (insomnia) - trouble sleeping was documented in about 2% of the patients involved in the study. Most of the time, this effect was present in people who used their inhaler during the night to relieve breathing difficulties that made them awaken, which makes it hard to determine if the sleeping problems were caused by albuterol, or by the very act of waking up from asthma.

Albuterol Side Effects to Watch out For

There exist a set of side effects to the treatment with albuterol that could indicate very serious complications, and should therefore be reported immediately to your treating physician.

If one is unviable, it is safer to call for emergency medical assistance if you experience any of these symptoms:

  • Breathing problems that gradually escalade in severity,
  • Arrhythmia, an irregular or uneven heart rhythm,
  • Tachycardia, a state when the heart beats at extremely fast rates, more than 100 times per minute,
  • Hypertension, or unnaturally high blood pressure.

Signs of an Allergic Reaction to Albuterol

In extremely rare cases albuterol or any of the inert components present within the formulation of the inhaler, such as preservatives and propellants, can cause an allergic reaction by themselves. If you suspect an allergic reaction is occurring, seek medical attention immediately.

The most prominent signs of such a reaction include:

  • Hives and itching,
  • Unexplained, progressing rash,
  • Swelling of the face, lips, mouth, or throat,
  • Growing pressure inside the throat, wheezing, difficulty speaking,
  • Difficulty breathing and/or swallowing.

A Brief Q&A for the Side Effects of Albuterol

Here we will cover a few patient asked questions that do not usually make on the front pages of most medical sites.

Here they are:

It is Possible to Avoid Albuterol Side Effects?

To a certain degree yes, but that mostly depends on the dosage of albuterol you take. Your doctor will not be able to tell if this medication will cause any particular problems in your case, unless you have previous experience with treatment involving bronchodilators. The only solution is to start using the medication and carefully observe your state of health. If you are experiencing significantly disturbing side effects, you may try a different prescription drug that may have fewer side effects in your case.

I Have Persistent Side Effects to Albuterol, What Should i Do?

If the affects you are ailing from tend to be minor, it may be possible to keep them at bay using simple remedies or by reviewing the inhaler technique in case you are doing something wrong - something as simple as forgetting to rinse your mouth and throat without swallowing after each inhalation can cause a multitude of recurring negative effects. If your effects are persistent and severe enough, and you are almost sure they are caused by albuterol, you may need to switch to another drug to see if the same effects will still be present.

The Effects I have Are Not on the List

While it is certainly plausible that some people can develop a unique reaction to albuterol, it is much more likely that the effect is due to the interaction of this medication with something within your organism, perhaps a different drug you are taking, or an underlying condition that affects the function of albuterol. It is also possible that your side effects are caused by something completely unrelated to the treatment with an Albuterol inhaler. If you require answers no matter what, the easiest way would be to consult your physician.

Are There any Specific Albuterol Side Effects in Toddlers and Infants?

Pediatric research organizations state that there are indeed several possible side effects albuterol may have on toddlers aged less than 4 years, but the majority of them stem from the commonplace adverse effects all patients may have in reaction to this drug. Some of the few particular effects include irritability, nervousness, mood changes, loss of focus, and confusion. The simplest explanation here is that young children react negatively to the adverse reactions they experience, such as throat irritation or headache, making all of these albuterol side effects in toddlers simply an extension of the effects it produces in all patients.

This article covers most of the side effects of albuterol, based on the data from several studies at least. More engaging articles on asthma treatment are to follow.