Albuterol (also known as salbutamol) is a short-acting bronchodilator. It is used in emergency situations or for quick relief use as needed. Bronchodilators work by relaxing and opening the airways to the lungs to make breathing easier.

How does albuterol for COPD work?

Albuterol is a selective beta2-adrenergic receptor agonist. These receptors are present on the smooth muscle of the bronchi and, when stimulated, relax the muscle and bronchodilate the airways. Beta2-adrenergic receptor agonists also increase the flow of calcium and potassium ions through the walls of the bronchi muscle cells, which causes an imbalance of charges and relaxation of the muscle.

Studies of albuterol

Although albuterol has been used for a long time, there are still some ongoing studies.

A phase 4 clinical trial (NCT00440245) will assess the potential differences in how two puffs of albuterol protects airway smooth muscle from contracting in people with asthma and COPD. The primary objective is the measure of methacholine PC20 dose shift after one hour of treatment.

Researchers hypothesize that albuterol’s bronchoprotection in COPD is limited due to structural or geometric changes in the airways.

Indications and side effects

Albuterol comes as an inhaler, in a syrup form, or tablets. This medicine will help control the symptoms but will not cure the condition. Common albuterol side effects may be back pain, body aches, headache and dizziness, nervousness, gastric disorders, sore throat, sinus pain and runny nose.

Brand names for albuterol include Proventil, Ventolin, Volmax and Vospire.

 

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