The salbutamol inhaler is the most common type of treatment for asthma. This inhaler is also used to treat other conditions, like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Salbutamol inhalers work by relaxing the muscles in the airways, which can go into spasm in asthma. The spasm of the muscles makes it more difficult to breathe, and causes the typical wheeze that people experience when they have asthma.
If you need a repeat prescription you can order salbutamol online from our UK clinic by completing the online assessment and ordering it from one of our GPs.
Please note: where a generic product has been ordered we may use a range of manufacturers to provide you with your medication, in order to maintain our service levels.
1 inhaler(s) - £11.95
2 inhaler(s) - £23.90
How to use Salbutamol
There are two types of devices used to deliver salbutamol. Firstly, a Metered Dose Inhaler (MDI) and secondly, a dry powder inhaler.
Both types of device work slightly differently, but deliver the same medicine and have the same effects. Talk to your doctor about which type would suit you best. We offer salbutamol with an MDI through our online service.
Using a Salbutamol MDI (Metered Dose Inhaler)
To use a Salbutamol MDI, remove the mouthpiece cover and shake vigorously. Insert the Salbutamol MDI into the spacer and the opposite end of the spacer into your mouth. Don’t bite the spacer, but make sure your lips create a good seal with the device. Press the canister of the Salbutamol MDI and breathe in and out for 10 breaths. For the subsequent puffs, press the canister again, and breathe in and out for 10 times between each puff. You don’t need to keep your finger pressed on the canister while you are breathing in and out.
Replace the mouthpiece cover right away to avoid dust and other debris entering the inhaler. You should stand up or sit up straight whilst using your salbutamol inhaler. You can take your salbutamol inhaler with or without food.
Before you use your spacer for the first time and once a month during use, soak it in warm water with a little washing up liquid for 15 minutes. Don’t scrub the inside as this might affect the way it works. Rinse and leave to air dry as this helps reduce static formation so that the medicine doesn’t stick to the inside, but is delivered to your lungs. Yous should replace your spacer at least every year.
Children and the elderly often need help with using the inhaler.
Always make sure that you follow your doctor’s prescription and read the instructions on how to take your salbutamol treatment. For more help, ask your pharmacist to show you how to correctly use the inhaler.
There are very few and very uncommon side-effects from using salbutamol inhalersPossible side-effects of salbutamol inhalers include headaches, restlessness, muscle spasms and shaky hands. It may also cause taste changes and mouth discomfort.
Less common side-effects include nausea, sweating, high blood sugar and low potassium levels.
If you already suffer from a heart condition, high blood pressure, an overactive thyroid gland or had a stroke or heart attack recently, you need to see with your doctor if salbutamol is the right treatment for you as you may suffer severe side-effects. Most likely, your doctor will prescribe you an alternative treatment for asthma.
People with asthma get symptoms because of inflammation in their airways. This means that there’s less space in the airways for air to pass through. The airways also become more sensitive, so the muscles can go into spasm, making them even more narrow. This makes it more difficult to breathe and causes symptoms like coughing and wheezing – this is known as an asthma attack.
Salbutamol inhalers help to open up the airways, so they help to relieve some of these symptoms. This is why they are sometimes called “reliever inhalers”.
By definition, asthma attacks happen unexpectedly, so as a rule, people who suffer from asthma should always have an asthma inhaler with them.
Salbutamol itself is the active ingredient in most asthma inhalers (e.g. Ventolin) and is usually the first line treatment for asthma.
After inhalation, salbutamol starts working within minutes, and its effects can last for up to 4 to 5 hours. This gives fast relief to symptoms of asthma attacks.
It can be used long-term on an as-needed basis to treat symptoms. But most people with asthma should also be using a preventer inhaler to stop these symptoms happening. Preventer inhalers contain steroid medications which help to reduce the inflammation in the airways.
Most studies have shown that salbutamol inhalers are just as effective as other short-acting medicines.
Salbutamol inhalers are supposed to be used to help relieve symptoms of asthma such as difficulty breathing or wheeze. They should be used as soon as symptoms start. If the symptoms don’t get better after using your salbutamol inhaler or if you need to use it again soon after, it’s important that you see a doctor as soon as possible because this can be a sign of a severe asthma attack.
It’s important that if you think you have asthma that you see a doctor so that they discuss your symptoms, examine you and start you on treatment as early as possible. This helps to control your symptoms and prevent the disease from getting worse.
If asthma is well controlled it will usually not impact a person’s daily activities. However it’s still important to carry an inhaler for emergency situations.
If you currently take beta-blockers, it can interact with Salbutamol in a way that will weaken the effect of both medications. In some cases it can even trigger an asthma attack.
Salbutamol can also interact with some types of antidepressant medications - particularly tricyclic antidepressants. There is also a chance of a low potassium level if salbutamol is used with some medications.
This is why you need a proper visit at your doctor to find the best asthma treatment suited to you. Also, make sure to read the instructions leaflet on other side-effects and drug interactions.
Salbutamol can be used safely in pregnancy and while breastfeeding. A small amount of the medication can pass through to the baby, but the amount is too small to be dangerous.
But, it’s important for all pregnant women to have a review with their GP early in pregnancy to make sure that their asthma control is good. If your asthma symptoms get worse during pregnancy you should see your GP as soon as possible for a review. If you find that you’re having difficulty breathing, you should seek urgent medical attention.