Ventolin HFA is a brand-name prescription drug. It's used to prevent and treat bronchospasm in people with asthma. Bronchospasm is a tightening of the muscles in your airways that can make it hard for you to breathe. Ventolin HFA is also used as needed to prevent bronchospasm caused by exercise.

Ventolin HFA can be prescribed for adults and children ages 4 years and older.

Ventolin HFA comes as an inhaler. It contains the drug albuterol sulfate, which is sometimes just called albuterol. Ventolin HFA belongs to a class of drugs called short-acting beta2-agonists (SABAs). It's also called a rescue inhaler because it works quickly to treat breathing problems.

Effectiveness

Ventolin HFA has been found effective in preventing and treating bronchospasm in people with asthma. In clinical studies, people taking Ventolin HFA had more improvement in their breathing than did people who were taking a placebo (treatment with no active drug).

Ventolin HFA has also been found effective in preventing bronchospasm caused by exercise. In a clinical study, people took two inhalations (puffs) of either Ventolin HFA or a placebo (treatment with no active drug) 30 minutes before exercising. In this study, Ventolin HFA was more effective than the placebo was in preventing bronchospasm.

Ventolin HFA is available only as a brand-name medication. It's not currently available in generic form.

Ventolin HFA contains the active drug ingredient albuterol sulfate (also called simply albuterol).

While there aren't any generic forms of Ventolin HFA available, there are several other inhalers available that contain albuterol. Some of these other inhalers are available in generic forms. For more details, see the section "Ventolin HFA vs. albuterol (ProAir HFA, Proventil HFA)" below.

You may wonder how Ventolin HFA compares to other medications that are prescribed for similar uses. Here we look at how Ventolin HFA and two other drugs that contain albuterol are alike and different. These two drugs are ProAir HFA and Proventil HFA.

Uses

Ventolin HFA, ProAir HFA, and Proventil HFA are each used to prevent and treat bronchospasm in people with asthma. They're also each approved for use as needed to prevent exercise-induced bronchospasm. With bronchospasm, the muscles in your airways become tight, which can make it hard for you to breathe.

Ventolin HFA, ProAir HFA, and Proventil HFA are each prescribed for these uses in adults and children ages 4 years and older.

Drug forms and administration

Ventolin HFA, ProAir HFA, and Proventil HFA each contain the active drug albuterol.

When used to treat or prevent bronchospasm in people with asthma, these drugs are generally each taken as needed. The typical dosage is two inhalations (puffs) taken up to every 4 to 6 hours.

When used to prevent exercise-induced bronchospasm, these drugs are each taken as two puffs 15 to 30 minutes before exercise.

Ventolin HFA comes in canisters that hold either 60 inhalations or 200 inhalations of medication. ProAir HFA and Proventil HFA each come in canisters that hold 200 inhalations of medication.

Effectiveness and side effects

Ventolin HFA, ProAir HFA, and Proventil HFA each contain the same active drug: albuterol. Because of this, these medications are expected to have very similar side effects.

More common side effects

These lists contain examples of more common side effects that can occur with Ventolin HFA, ProAir HFA, and Proventil HFA, or when each drug is used individually.

  • Can occur with Ventolin HFA:
    • sore throat
    • cough
    • muscle pain
    • bone pain
  • Can occur with ProAir HFA:
    • headache
    • general body pain
    • dizziness
  • Can occur with Proventil HFA:
    • strange taste when inhaled
    • back pain
    • fever
    • tremor (shakiness)
    • nausea
    • vomiting
    • nervousness
  • Can occur with Ventolin HFA, ProAir HFA, or Proventil HFA:
    • viral respiratory infections, such as the common cold
    • upper respiratory inflammation, which may cause symptoms such as stuffy nose

Serious side effects

The serious side effects that can occur when using Ventolin HFA, ProAir HFA, or Proventil HFA include:

Effectiveness

Ventolin HFA, ProAir HFA, and Proventil HFA each have the same approved uses. They're all prescribed to prevent and treat bronchospasm in people with asthma, and to prevent exercise-induced bronchospasm.

The effectiveness of these three medications hasn't been directly compared in a clinical study.

However, treatment guidelines recommend the use of a rescue inhaler that contains albuterol for quick relief of breathing symptoms for most people with asthma. Ventolin HFA, ProAir HFA, and Proventil HFA are each an example of this type of inhaler.

It's important to note that albuterol shouldn't be used as a maintenance (ongoing) treatment. It's recommended for use only as needed to treat or prevent sudden breathing problems.

Costs

Ventolin HFA, ProAir HFA, and Proventil HFA are each brand-name drugs. There are currently no generic forms of any of these drugs. Brand-name medications usually cost more than generics.

According to estimates on WellRx.com, Ventolin HFA, ProAir HFA, and Proventil HFA generally cost about the same. The actual price you'll pay for any of these drugs depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

The Ventolin HFA dosage your doctor prescribes will depend on several factors. These include:

  • the type and severity of the condition you're using Ventolin HFA to treat
  • other medical conditions you may have
  • your age

Typically, your doctor will start you on a low dosage. Then they'll adjust it over time to reach the amount that's right for you. Your doctor will ultimately prescribe the smallest dosage that provides the desired effect.

The following information describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. However, be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to suit your needs.

Drug forms and strengths

Ventolin HFA comes as an inhaler device. It's available in two inhaler sizes:

  • an 8-g device that holds 60 inhalations (puffs)
  • an 18-g device that holds 200 inhalations

Each puff of Ventolin HFA delivers 90 mcg of albuterol.

A dose counter is built into each inhaler device. The dose counter tells you how many inhalations are left in your inhaler.

Dosage for bronchospasm in people with asthma

The usual dosage of Ventolin HFA to treat or prevent bronchospasm is two inhalations, taken up to every 4 to 6 hours as needed.

The maximum dosage of Ventolin HFA is two inhalations every 4 hours.

Dosage for exercise-induced bronchospasm

The usual dosage of Ventolin HFA to prevent bronchospasm that's caused by exercise is two inhalations, taken 15 to 30 minutes before exercise.

Pediatric dosage

The usual dosage of Ventolin HFA for children ages 4 years and older is the same as it is for adults. See the dosage sections above for more information.

What if I miss a dose?

Ventolin HFA is meant to be used as-needed to treat and prevent sudden breathing problems. You likely won't have a set schedule for when you need to take this drug.

Check with your doctor to see how often they recommend that you use Ventolin HFA.

Will I need to use this drug long term?

Yes, you possibly will. Ventolin HFA is meant to be used as a long-term treatment. If you and your doctor determine that Ventolin HFA is safe and effective for you, you'll likely use it over a long period of time.

Ventolin HFA can cause mild or serious side effects. The following lists contain some of the key side effects that may occur while taking Ventolin HFA. These lists do not include all possible side effects.

For more information on the possible side effects of Ventolin HFA, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can give you tips on how to deal with any side effects that may be bothersome.

Note: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tracks side effects of drugs they have approved. If you would like to report to the FDA a side effect you've had with Ventolin HFA, you can do so through MedWatch.

More common side effects

The more common side effects of Ventolin HFA can include:

  • sore throat
  • cough
  • muscle pain
  • bone pain
  • viral respiratory infections, such as the common cold
  • upper respiratory inflammation, which may cause symptoms such as stuffy nose

Most of these side effects may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they're more severe or don't go away, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious side effects

Serious side effects from Ventolin HFA aren't common, but they can occur. Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you're having a medical emergency.

Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • Paradoxical bronchospasm (tightening of your airways that's unexpected because the drug is meant to relax your airway). Symptoms can include:
    • wheezing (a whistling sound when you breathe)
    • coughing
    • chest pain
    • chest tightness
  • Heart rate or rhythm abnormalities. Symptoms can include:
  • High blood pressure. Symptoms can include:
    • headache
    • dizziness
    • anxiety
    • trouble falling asleep
  • Hypokalemia (low potassium level). Symptoms can include:
  • Severe allergic reaction, including anaphylaxis. See the section below called "Side effect details" for more information.

Side effect details

You may wonder how often certain side effects occur with this drug. Here's some detail on a few of the side effects this drug may cause.

Allergic reaction

As with most drugs, some people can have an allergic reaction after taking Ventolin HFA. Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:

  • skin rash
  • itchiness
  • flushing (warmth and redness in your skin)

A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include:

  • swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
  • swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat
  • trouble breathing

It's not known how many people have had an allergic reaction to Ventolin. However, you shouldn't take Ventolin HFA if you've had an allergic reaction to the drug in the past.

Call your doctor right away if you have a severe allergic reaction to Ventolin HFA. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you're having a medical emergency.

Sore throat

Ventolin HFA may cause a sore throat in some people using the drug. In clinical studies, 10% of people who took Ventolin HFA had a sore throat after taking their dose. Of people who took a placebo (no active treatment), 7% had a sore throat.

If you have a sore throat while you're taking Ventolin HFA, talk with your doctor. They can recommend ways to soothe your sore throat.

Side effects in children

In clinical studies, side effects of Ventolin HFA that were seen in children were similar to those seen in adults.

If your child has concerning side effects while they're taking Ventolin HFA, talk with their doctor right away. They can determine what's causing the side effects and recommend ways to prevent or treat them.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves prescription drugs such as Ventolin HFA to treat certain conditions. Ventolin HFA may also be used off-label for other conditions. Off-label use is when a drug that's approved to treat one condition is used to treat a different condition.

Ventolin HFA for bronchospasm in people with asthma

Ventolin HFA is FDA-approved to prevent and treat bronchospasm in people with asthma. It's approved for this use in adults and children ages 4 years and older.

Bronchospasm is a common symptom of asthma. It's described as a sudden tightening of the muscles around your airways. This causes your airways to become narrow and lowers the amount of air that can flow through them.

As your airways become narrow, it also becomes hard for you to breathe. Because breathing is how your body gets oxygen, bronchospasm decreases the amount of oxygen that's delivered to your body.

Effectiveness for bronchospasm in people with asthma

Ventolin HFA has been found effective for preventing and treating bronchospasm in people with asthma. In clinical studies, people taking Ventolin HFA had more improvement in their breathing than did people who were taking a placebo (treatment with no active drug).

Ventolin HFA for exercise-induced bronchospasm

Ventolin HFA is also FDA-approved to prevent exercise-induced bronchospasm, which is bronchospasm caused by exercise. It's approved for this use in adults and children ages 4 years and older.

With bronchospasm, the muscles around your airways become tight. This leads to narrowing of your airways and makes it hard for you to breathe. Since breathing is how our bodies get oxygen, this condition also decreases the amount of oxygen that's delivered inside your body. For some people, bronchospasm occurs when they exercise or do other physical activities.

Effectiveness for exercise-induced bronchospasm

Ventolin HFA has also been found effective for preventing bronchospasm caused by exercise. In a clinical study, people took two inhalations (puffs) of either Ventolin HFA or a placebo (treatment with no active drug) 30 minutes before exercising. In this study, Ventolin HFA was more effective than the placebo was in preventing bronchospasm.

Ventolin HFA for other conditions

In addition to the uses listed above, Ventolin HFA may be used off-label. Off-label drug use is when a drug that's approved for one use is used for a different one that's not approved. And you may wonder if Ventolin HFA is used for certain other conditions.

Ventolin HFA for COPD (off-label use)

Ventolin HFA isn't FDA-approved to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes conditions such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema. However, this drug is sometimes used to prevent or treat bronchospasm in people with COPD.

Treatment guidelines recommend that all people with COPD should have a short-acting rescue inhaler (such as Ventolin HFA) available to use as needed for quick relief of breathing symptoms. However, these rescue inhalers aren't meant to be used as maintenance (ongoing) treatment for COPD.

If you're interested in using Ventolin HFA as part of your COPD treatment, talk with your doctor. They can review your treatment options with you.

Ventolin HFA for acute bronchitis (not an appropriate use)

Ventolin HFA is not FDA-approved to treat acute bronchitis (bronchitis that occurs for days to weeks).

However, some people with COPD have chronic bronchitis. This form of bronchitis occurs over a long period of time. Sometimes people with COPD use Ventolin HFA as needed to provide quick relief of breathing symptoms. See the section "Ventolin HFA for COPD (off-label use)" above for more details.

If you'd like to know more about treatment options for acute bronchitis, talk with your doctor.

Ventolin HFA for cough (not an appropriate use)

Ventolin HFA isn't FDA-approved to treat cough that's not related to bronchospasm. And it's not an appropriate treatment for this condition.

If you'd like to know more about treatment options for cough, talk with your doctor.

Ventolin HFA for allergies (not an appropriate use)

Ventolin HFA isn't FDA-approved to treat allergies, and it's not an appropriate treatment for this condition.

If you'd like to know more about treatment options for allergies, talk with your doctor.

Ventolin HFA for weight loss (not an appropriate use)

Ventolin HFA isn't FDA-approved for use as a weight loss aid. And this isn't an appropriate use of the drug.

If you'd like to know more about weight loss aids, talk with your doctor.

Ventolin HFA and children

Ventolin HFA is FDA-approved for use in children ages 4 years and older to:

In clinical studies, Ventolin HFA was more effective than a placebo (treatment with no active drug) in reducing bronchospasm in children with asthma.

Ventolin HFA was approved for use in children with exercise-induced bronchospasm based on the results of clinical studies in adults. In those studies, Ventolin HFA was found effective in treating this condition in adults.

Ventolin HFA is a rescue inhaler. This means it's meant to be used to treat or prevent sudden breathing problems caused by bronchospasm. With bronchospasm, your airways become tight, which makes it hard to breathe.

Ventolin HFA can be used by people with bronchospasm caused by asthma. Many people with asthma will also use other medications to control asthma symptoms. These other medications are considered maintenance (ongoing) treatments because they're used daily on a long-term basis.

Note: Some of the drugs listed below are used off-label to treat these specific conditions. Off-label use is when a drug that's approved to treat one condition is used to treat a different condition.

Examples of maintenance medications that are used to treat asthma include:

  • inhaled corticosteroids, such as:
    • fluticasone (Flovent Diskus, Flovent HFA)
    • beclomethasone (Qvar RediHaler)
    • mometasone (Asmanex HFA)
    • budesonide (Pulmicort Flexhaler, Pulmicort Respules)
  • long-acting inhalers, such as:
    • ipratropium (Atrovent HFA)
    • formoterol (Foradil)
    • salmeterol (Serevent)
  • combination medications, such as:
    • mometasone/formoterol (Dulera)
    • budesonide/formoterol (Symbicort)
    • fluticasone/salmeterol (Advair Diskus)
    • fluticasone/vilanterol (Breo Ellipta)
  • leukotriene inhibitors, such as:
    • montelukast (Singulair)
    • zileuton (Zyflo CR)
    • zafirlukast (Accolate)
  • certain monoclonal antibodies, such as:
  • theophylline

Other drugs are available that can treat your condition. Some may be better suited for you than others. If you're interested in finding an alternative to Ventolin HFA, talk with your doctor. They can tell you about other medications that may work well for you.

Note: Some of the drugs listed below are used off-label to treat these specific conditions. Off-label use is when a drug that's approved to treat one condition is used to treat a different condition.

Alternatives for bronchospasm in people with asthma

Examples of other drugs that may be used as rescue inhalers to prevent or treat bronchospasm in people with asthma include:

  • levalbuterol (Xopenex)
  • other forms of albuterol (Proventil HFA, ProAir HFA)

Alternatives for exercise-induced bronchospasm

Examples of other drugs that may be used to prevent bronchospasm that's caused by exercise include:

  • levalbuterol (Xopenex)
  • formoterol (Foradil)
  • salmeterol (Serevent)
  • cromolyn (Gastrocrom)
  • montelukast (Singulair)
  • zafirlukast (Accolate)

Like ProAir (discussed above), Symbicort has uses similar to those of Ventolin HFA. Here's a comparison of how Ventolin HFA and Symbicort are alike and different.

Uses

Ventolin HFA and Symbicort are both used in the treatment of asthma. However, they play different roles in asthma treatment, which are described below:

  • Ventolin HFA. This drug is used as a rescue inhaler to treat or prevent sudden breathing problems caused by bronchospasm (tightening of your airways that makes it hard to breathe). For this use, Ventolin HFA can be prescribed for adults and children ages 4 years and older.
  • Symbicort. This drug is used as a maintenance (ongoing) treatment for asthma. For this use, it can be prescribed for adults and children ages 6 years and older.

While Ventolin HFA is used as a rescue inhaler, Symbicort isn't approved for this purpose. This is because Symbicort doesn't relieve breathing problems as quickly as rescue inhalers do. Instead, Symbicort works over time to control asthma symptoms.

In addition to treating bronchospasm related to asthma, Ventolin HFA is also used to prevent exercise-induced bronchospasm. With this condition, you may have trouble breathing during exercise or other physical activities. For this use, Ventolin HFA can be given to adults and children ages 4 years and older.

Symbicort is also used as maintenance treatment for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in adults.

Drug forms and administration

Ventolin HFA is used as needed, up to every 4 to 6 hours, for sudden breathing problems. Symbicort is used consistently, twice each day.

Ventolin HFA comes as an inhaler that contains the active drug albuterol. It's a short-acting beta2-agonist (SABA). It's available in inhalers that come in these two sizes:

  • an 8-g device that holds 60 inhalations (puffs)
  • an 18-g device that holds 200 inhalations

Symbicort comes as an inhaler that contains two active drugs: budesonide and formoterol. It's made with a corticosteroid (budesonide) and a long-acting beta2-agonist (formoterol). Symbicort inhalers come in these two container options:

  • inhalers that hold 60 inhalations
  • inhalers that hold 120 inhalations

Side effects and risks

Ventolin HFA and Symbicort contain different drugs. Therefore, both medications can cause some similar side effects. Below are examples of these side effects.

More common side effects

These lists contain examples of more common side effects that can occur with Ventolin HFA, with Symbicort, or with both drugs (when taken individually).

  • Can occur with Ventolin HFA:
    • cough
    • muscle pain
    • bone pain
  • Can occur with Symbicort:
    • headache
    • back pain
    • stomach discomfort
    • vomiting
    • thrush (yeast infection in your mouth)
  • Can occur with both Ventolin HFA and Symbicort:
    • viral respiratory infections, such as the common cold
    • upper respiratory inflammation, which may cause symptoms such as a stuffy nose
    • sore throat

Serious side effects

These lists contain examples of serious side effects that can occur with Ventolin HFA, with Symbicort, or with both drugs (when taken individually).

  • Can occur with Ventolin HFA:
    • few unique serious side effects
  • Can occur with Symbicort:
    • pneumonia
    • increased risk of infections
    • adrenal gland problems
    • decreased bone density
    • slowed growth in children
    • eye problems, such as glaucoma (increased pressure in your eye) and cataracts (cloudiness in the lens of your eye)
    • hyperglycemia (high blood sugar level)
  • Can occur with both Ventolin HFA and Symbicort:

Effectiveness

Ventolin HFA and Symbicort have different FDA-approved uses, but they're both used to treat asthma.

The active drugs in both Ventolin HFA and Symbicort have been directly compared in a clinical study of people with mild asthma. People in this study took either budesonide and formoterol (the active drugs in Symbicort) or albuterol (active drug in Ventolin HFA).

In the study, people took either drug as needed whenever they had asthma symptoms. The study found that people who took the budesonide/formoterol combination had 51% fewer asthma attacks (flare-ups) each year than did people who took albuterol.

While the results of this study are promising, Symbicort isn't currently approved for use as a rescue inhaler. But Symbicort is approved for use as maintenance (ongoing) treatment to control asthma symptoms and prevent flare-ups.

Costs

Ventolin HFA and Symbicort are both brand-name drugs. There are currently no generic forms of either drug. Brand-name medications usually cost more than generics.

According to estimates on WellRx.com, Ventolin HFA generally costs less than Symbicort. The actual price you'll pay for either drug depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

You should take Ventolin HFA according to your doctor's or healthcare provider's instructions.

Ventolin HFA comes in inhaler devices and is taken as inhalations (puffs). You should shake the inhaler device well before each inhalation of the drug. This helps make sure that you receive the correct amount of drug in each puff.

After taking each inhalation of Ventolin HFA, hold your breath for about 10 seconds to help ensure that the drug reaches your lungs.

When you're using an inhaler device for the first time, you'll need to prepare it for use. (This is sometimes called priming the inhaler.) You should also prime your inhaler device if you haven't used it for 2 weeks, or if you drop it.

For step-by-step instructions on how to prime your Ventolin HFA inhaler and use it correctly, see the manufacturer's website.

When to take

Ventolin HFA should be taken according to the instructions given by your doctor or healthcare provider. They'll recommend how often you should take Ventolin HFA for your unique needs.

If you are using Ventolin HFA to prevent or treat bronchospasm caused by asthma, Ventolin HFA can be taken up to every 4 to 6 hours.

If you are using Ventolin HFA to prevent exercise-induced bronchospasm, you should take the drug 15 to 30 minutes before exercising.

It's not known how safe it is to use Ventolin HFA during pregnancy. In animal studies, there was harm to the offspring of females who received the drug during pregnancy. However, animal studies don't always predict what will happen in humans.

If you're taking Ventolin HFA and you're pregnant or may become pregnant, talk with your doctor. They'll discuss the risks and benefits of treatment with you.

It's not known if Ventolin HFA is safe to take during pregnancy. If you or your sexual partner can become pregnant, talk with your doctor about your birth control needs while you're using Ventolin HFA.

It's not known if Ventolin HFA passes into breastmilk or if it can harm a child who's breastfed.

If you're taking Ventolin HFA, talk with your doctor about safe and healthy ways to feed your child.

Using more than the recommended dosage of Ventolin HFA can lead to serious side effects.

Overdose symptoms

Symptoms of an overdose can include:

  • headache
  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • dry mouth
  • tremor (shakiness)
  • changes in blood pressure (may be increased or decreased)
  • fast heart rate
  • abnormal heart rhythm
  • chest pain
  • seizures
  • in serious cases, death

What to do in case of overdose

If you think you've taken too much of this drug, call your doctor. You can also call the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 800-222-1222 or use their online tool. But if your symptoms are severe, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

Ventolin HFA can interact with several other medications. It can also interact with certain supplements as well as certain foods.

Different interactions can cause different effects. For instance, some interactions can interfere with how well a drug works. Other interactions can increase side effects or make them more severe.

Ventolin HFA and other medications

Below are lists of medications that can interact with Ventolin HFA. These lists do not contain all the drugs that may interact with Ventolin HFA.

Before taking Ventolin HFA, talk with your doctor and pharmacist. Tell them about all prescription, over-the-counter, and other drugs you take. Also tell them about any vitamins, herbs, and supplements you use. Sharing this information can help you avoid potential interactions.

If you have questions about drug interactions that may affect you, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Ventolin HFA and certain beta-blockers

Taking Ventolin HFA with certain blood pressure drugs called beta-blockers isn't usually recommended. This is because certain beta-blockers can cause the opposite effect in your lungs as Ventolin HFA causes. This can make Ventolin HFA less effective to treat your condition.

Examples of certain beta-blockers that can make Ventolin HFA less effective include:

  • carvedilol (Coreg, Coreg CR)
  • nadolol (Corgard)
  • pindolol
  • propranolol (Inderal, Inderal LA)

If you need to take a beta-blocker while you're using Ventolin HFA, there are certain beta-blockers that may be less likely to have this interaction. These beta-blockers include metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol-XL) and atenolol (Tenormin).

Before starting Ventolin HFA, talk with your doctor if you also need to use a beta-blocker. Your doctor will recommend the safest treatment plan for you.

Ventolin HFA and certain diuretics

Taking Ventolin HFA with certain diuretics (also called water pills) can lead to serious side effects. These side effects may include low potassium level, abnormal heart rate, and abnormal heart rhythm.

Examples of diuretics that can lead to these side effects if taken with Ventolin HFA include:

  • hydrochlorothiazide
  • chlorthalidone
  • torsemide (Demadex)
  • furosemide (Lasix)
  • bumetanide (Bumex)

If you need to take one of these diuretics with Ventolin HFA, your doctor may monitor you more closely for side effects during treatment.

Ventolin HFA and digoxin

Taking Ventolin HFA with digoxin (Lanoxin) can decrease the level of digoxin in your body. This can make digoxin less effective for you.

If you have to take Ventolin HFA with digoxin, your doctor will monitor your digoxin levels closely. They may also recommend a different dosage of digoxin for you.

Ventolin HFA and certain antidepressants

Taking Ventolin HFA with certain antidepressants can increase your risk of serious heart-related side effects. These side effects may include high blood pressure, fast heart rate, and abnormal heart rhythm.

Antidepressants that may interact with Ventolin HFA can include:

  • selegiline (Emsam, Zelapar)
  • phenelzine (Nardil)
  • isocarboxazid (Marplan)
  • amitriptyline
  • desipramine (Norpramin)
  • nortriptyline (Pamelor)
  • imipramine (Tofranil)

This drug interaction can happen if you take any of these antidepressants while you're using Ventolin HFA. The interaction can also happen if you take any of these antidepressants within 2 weeks before you start using Ventolin HFA.

If you need to take Ventolin HFA with one of these medications, your doctor will monitor you closely for serious side effects. Your doctor may also recommend that you use a different antidepressant.

Ventolin HFA and herbs and supplements

There aren't any herbs or supplements that have been specifically reported to interact with Ventolin HFA. However, you should still check with your doctor or pharmacist before using any of these products while taking Ventolin HFA.

There aren't any known interactions between Ventolin HFA and alcohol.

Talk with your doctor to see whether it's safe for you to consume alcohol while you're using Ventolin HFA.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Ventolin HFA.

Is Ventolin HFA a steroid?

No, Ventolin HFA isn't a steroid. Ventolin HFA is a short-acting beta2-agonist (SABA). It works by relaxing the muscles around your airways. This allows air to flow better as it moves in and out of your lungs. SABAs work quickly to make it easier for you to breathe.

Steroids, on the other hand, work by reducing inflammation in your body, including in your lungs. Steroids work over time to improve airflow through your lungs. Many people with asthma need to take both a SABA and a steroid to control their asthma symptoms.

Will Ventolin HFA increase my blood pressure?

It might. Ventolin HFA can cause increased blood pressure in some people. If you already have high blood pressure, or if you're concerned about your blood pressure, talk with your doctor. They will determine whether it's safe for you to use Ventolin HFA.

How do I know when to dispose of my Ventolin HFA inhaler?

You should throw away your Ventolin HFA inhaler when the dose counter reads "000" or when it's been 12 months since you first opened the package, whichever comes first.

The inhaler's packaging will also have an expiration date printed on it. You should also throw away the inhaler if it's expired (the expiration date has passed), even if there's still medication inside the device.

Has Ventolin HFA ever been recalled?

Yes, some lots (batches) of Ventolin HFA have been recalled in the past. (A recall is when the manufacturer removes a drug or product from the market.)

In 2017, GlaxoSmithKline (the manufacturer of Ventolin HFA) recalled certain lots of Ventolin HFA. The lots were recalled because inhalers from those lots contained more doses of medication than was marked on their labeling. GlaxoSmithKline did this recall voluntarily when they became aware of the problem.

There aren't any current recalls on Ventolin HFA.

As with all medications, the cost of Ventolin HFA can vary. To find current prices for Ventolin HFA in your area, check out WellRx.com.

The cost you find on WellRx.com is what you may pay without insurance. The actual price you'll pay depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

Your insurance plan may require you to get prior authorization before approving coverage for Ventolin HFA. This means that your doctor and insurance company will need to communicate about your prescription before the insurance company will cover the drug. The insurance company will review the request and let you and your doctor know if your plan will cover Ventolin HFA.

If you're not sure if you'll need to get prior authorization for Ventolin HFA, contact your insurance company.

Financial and insurance assistance

If you need financial support to pay for Ventolin HFA, or if you need help understanding your insurance coverage, help is available.

GlaxoSmithKline LLC, the manufacturer of Ventolin HFA, provides resources that may help lower your cost at its GSK for You website. For more information and to find out if you're eligible for support, call 866-GSK-FOR-U (866-475-3678) or visit the website.

Ventolin HFA contains the drug albuterol sulfate (also called simply albuterol). It's used to prevent and treat bronchospasm in people with asthma. It's also used to prevent bronchospasm that occurs during exercise.

What is bronchospasm?

Bronchospasm is a sudden tightening of the muscles in your airway. This causes your airways to become narrow, allowing less air to flow through as you breathe. Less airflow through your lungs leads to less oxygen being delivered into your body.

Common symptoms of bronchospasm include wheezing (a whistling sound when you breathe), coughing, and chest pain or tightness.

Bronchospasm commonly occurs in people with asthma. For some people, it can also occur during exercise or other physical activities.

What does Ventolin HFA do?

Ventolin HFA is a short-acting beta2-agonist (SABA). It's known as a bronchodilator, which means that it helps open up (dilate) your airways. It does this by attaching to beta2-receptors (attachment sites) that are on certain muscles in your airways.

When Ventolin HFA attaches to these receptors, it causes the muscles to relax. As the muscles relax, your airways open and become wider. This allows air to flow through them more freely as you breathe.

Because Ventolin HFA works so quickly to relax airways, it's also called a rescue inhaler. This medication is meant to be used to quickly relieve bronchospasm symptoms.

How long does it take to work?

In a clinical study, people had an improvement in their breathing on average about 5 minutes after using Ventolin HFA. Their average time until having maximum improvement in their symptoms was 56 minutes.

This drug comes with several precautions. Before taking Ventolin HFA, talk with your doctor about your health history. Ventolin HFA may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors affecting your health. These include:

  • Seizure disorders. Ventolin HFA can worsen seizure disorders in people who already have these conditions. If you have a seizure disorder, talk with your doctor to find out if it's safe for you to use Ventolin HFA.
  • Hyperthyroidism. Ventolin HFA can worsen the symptoms of hyperthyroidism (high thyroid hormone level) in people who already have this condition. If you have hyperthyroidism, talk with your doctor to find out if it's safe for you to use Ventolin HFA.
  • Diabetes. Ventolin HFA can worsen diabetes and certain complications of diabetes in people who already have these conditions. If you have diabetes, talk with your doctor to find out if it's safe for you to use Ventolin HFA.
  • Heart problems. Ventolin HFA can cause heart problems and high blood pressure in some people. This drug may not be safe for you if you have heart disease or high blood pressure. Talk with your doctor about any history of heart or blood pressure problems to see if Ventolin HFA is safe for you.
  • Allergic reaction. You shouldn't use Ventolin HFA if you've had an allergic reaction to albuterol or any of the inactive ingredients in Ventolin HFA. If you're unsure if you've had an allergic reaction to Ventolin HFA in the past, talk with your doctor.
  • Pregnancy. It's not known how safe Ventolin HFA is during pregnancy. For more information, please see the "Ventolin HFA and pregnancy" section above.
  • Breastfeeding. It's not known how safe Ventolin HFA is while breastfeeding. For more information, please see the "Ventolin HFA and breastfeeding" section above.

Note: For more information about the potential negative effects of Ventolin HFA, see the section "Ventolin HFA side effects" above.

When you get Ventolin HFA from the pharmacy, the pharmacist will add an expiration date to the label on the bottle. This date is typically 1 year from the date they dispensed the medication.

The expiration date helps guarantee the effectiveness of the medication during this time. The current stance of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is to avoid using expired medications. If you have unused medication that has gone past the expiration date, talk to your pharmacist about whether you might still be able to use it.

Storage

How long a medication remains good can depend on many factors, including how and where you store the medication.

Ventolin HFA inhalers should be stored at room temperature (68°F to 77°F/20°C to 25°C) with the mouthpiece facing down. Avoid storing this medication in areas where it could be exposed to heat or open flame.

Disposal

If you no longer need to take Ventolin HFA and have leftover medication, it's important to dispose of it safely. This helps prevent others, including children and pets, from taking the drug by accident. It also helps keep the drug from harming the environment.

The FDA website provides several useful tips on medication disposal. You can also ask your pharmacist for information on how to dispose of your medication.

The following information is provided for clinicians and other healthcare professionals.

Indications

Ventolin HFA is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat and prevent bronchospasm in people with reversible obstructive airway disease, and to prevent exercise-induced bronchospasm. It is approved for these purposes in adults and children ages 4 years and older.

Mechanism of action

Ventolin HFA (albuterol sulfate) is a short-acting beta2-agonist (SABA) that activates beta2-adrenergic receptors on all smooth muscle tissue in the lungs. This leads to increased levels of intracellular cyclic AMP, which activates protein kinase A. Protein kinase A inhibits myosin phosphorylation and decreases intracellular calcium levels. Lower calcium levels lead to muscle relaxation through the airways.

Pharmacokinetics and metabolism

After inhalation, peak plasma concentrations are reached in 0.42 hours. Half-life is approximately 4.6 hours.

Contraindications

Ventolin HFA is contraindicated in people who have had a hypersensitivity reaction to albuterol or any inactive ingredient in Ventolin HFA.

Storage

Ventolin HFA should be stored with the mouthpiece down and kept at room temperature (68°F to 77°F/20°C to 25°C). As the inhaler is pressurized, it shouldn't be punctured or kept near heat or flames.

Disclaimer: Medical News Today has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.