What is Salbutamol?
Salbutamol is a medicine that’s used to treat various conditions involving the airways such as asthma, COPD and in some cases, bronchitis.
Salbutamol usually comes as an inhaler (normally in a blue plastic casing), but can also be given as tablets, capsules and an oral solution to those who find it difficult to use an inhaler. In some severe cases, it can also be given as a nebuliser.
Salbutamol works to reduce symptoms such as coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath by relaxing the muscles in the airways and making it easier for you to breathe.
How long does Salbutamol take to work?
Salbutamol is a fast-acting medicine, which is why it’s often called a reliever. This is because it relieves symptoms usually within minutes of using the inhaler. Effects of the medicine usually last for anywhere between 4-6 hours and most people find that they don’t have to use it again unless they experience another onset of asthmatic symptoms.
Salbutamol doesn’t cure asthma, but it’s a very effective treatment for managing the symptoms.
Can I take Salbutamol?
As salbutamol is an asthma medication, and the condition can be life threatening if the symptoms aren’t treated quickly, most people are able to use salbutamol with just a few exceptions. You should speak to your GP about whether salbutamol is an appropriate treatment for you if you have any of the following problems or conditions:
- Allergy to any of the ingredients
- Galactose intolerance
- Lapp lactase deficiency
- Glucose galactose malabsorption
- Heart disease
- Disease affecting the blood vessels
- Infection of the lungs
- Overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)
- Low levels of potassium in the blood
Whilst many of the conditions above sound like lactose intolerance, they aren’t the same thing. If you’re lactose intolerant it should still be safe for you to use Salbutamol as the levels of lactose found in the medication won’t be enough to irritate your condition.
Salbutamol may interact with some other medicines. It means that they might not work as well, increase their side effects, or affect how salbutamol works in your system. Some of the medicines that are known to have an interaction with the asthma medicine are:
- Xanthines (medicines for breathing problems)
- Beta-blockers such as propranolol
- Medicines to treat depression
It might still be safe for you to use salbutamol, or your doctor might recommend a different treatment for your asthma, but it’s still a good idea to make an appointment to make sure that your overall health won’t be affected by using two medicines that don’t work well together.
How do you use Salbutamol?
This depends on which form of the medicine you have. Most commonly, it comes in a blue inhaler which is used at the onset of asthmatic symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath.
To use your inhaler, you should breathe out as far as you can, place the mouthpiece of the inhaler between your lips and inhale through your mouth. As you inhale, you should press the canister into the blue plastic casing and a fine mist should be produced. As you’re breathing in, the mist will be sucked into your airways. You should hold your breath for 3-5 seconds to make sure the medicine has been absorbed. If you feel that you need another puff after a few minutes, you can. However, it isn’t advised to take more than two puffs for any one asthma attack, or to have more than 4 doses in any 24-hour period. If you feel you need more than this, or your symptoms don’t improve, you should discuss your condition with a GP who will advise you on what other treatments are available and whether you should see a specialist.
For other types of salbutamol (for example pills, capsules, syrups or nebulisers) it’s best to follow the advice of your GP, as you’ll have been given these for a reason. Either because the dosage in the inhaler is too low, or because you find it difficult to use the inhaler.
Nebulisers are usually given for more severe cases of asthma or COPD, so these may be administered in hospital. Alternatively, you may have a nebuliser at home.
What are the side effects of Salbutamol?
Salbutamol can cause some strange side effects that might alarm you, but they’re often only mild and many people don’t notice them at all. The most common side effects are:
- Feeling shaky
- Increased heart rate (tachycardia)
- Uneven heart rate (arrhythmia)
More side effects are written in the patient information leaflet that you receive with your order, and it’s important to familiarise yourself with these so you know what to expect.
Salbutamol (like most other medications) can also cause an allergic reaction. If you notice any of the following symptoms, you should stop using Salbutamol immediately and seek urgent treatment:
- Reddened skin
- Swelling on the face
- Swelling of the throat
- Low blood pressure (hypertension)
- Worsening of symptoms immediately after using the inhaler
What is Asthma?
Asthma is a chronic condition that affects the airways, which react in three different ways to triggers:
- The muscles in the airways tighten and cause the airway to narrow
- The lining of the airways become inflamed and starts to swell
- Mucus builds up which can contribute to the narrowing of the airways even more
These reactions from your body are what causes the classic symptoms that salbutamol works to relive. Asthma normally runs in families, and most people are diagnosed in childhood, though some do develop it once they’ve already reached adulthood.
If you experience an asthma attack, you can help yourself by:
- Sitting up straight. Don’t slouch or lie down
- Take a puff of your Salbutamol reliever. If symptoms don’t improve or if they worsen, take another puff and ring 999 if you feel as though you need to.
If your symptoms don’t respond to your reliever, it’s a good indication that you’re experiencing an asthma attack.
If you need to use your inhaler more than once every 4 hours, waking up due to your symptoms, or if your symptoms are affecting your daily life, you should book an urgent appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition and what other treatment options are available.
Don’t delay medical advice when it comes to asthma as an attack can potentially be fatal.
How is my order shipped to me?
When an order is ready for shipping, it is collected and delivered by either the Royal Mail or DPD depending on your preference (or possibly your location or the item you ordered). Each order is assigned a tracking number, which will be emailed to you at the time of dispatch. Your medicine will be sent in plain and discreet packaging that’s eco-friendly. We do not include any branding on our packaging nor any labels which inform readers what type of product is contained within.
Advice on Addiction and Medication Restrictions
If you are at all worried or concerned about an addiction to any type of medication, we urge you to speak to a professional for help and advice. Below are links to organisations that can help.
Talk To Frank
NHS Help & Advice On Drug Addiction