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Side Effects of an Albuterol Nebulizer Treatment

Albuterol is a prescription medication used to treat asthma and other respiratory conditions 1. Many patients use albuterol in an inhaler to treat acute asthma symptoms, but it is also available as an inhalation solution that is administered via nebulizer 1. Young children often need to use a nebulizer to treat asthma because they are not old enough to properly use an inhaler. The inhalation solution is also often used in hospital settings.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

How It Works

Albuterol is a sympathomimetic bronchodilator that works by relaxing the muscles in the airway and allowing oxygen to flow more freely 1. When this occurs, breathing becomes easier. People taking albuterol via a nebulizer place the solution in the medication cup, and when the machine is turned on, the medication creates a mist that patients breathe in 1. A treatment generally takes between 5 and 10 minutes.

Respiratory Side Effects

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In rare cases, people using albuterol to treat respiratory conditions may experience a worsening of their symptoms, such as wheezing and shortness of breath 1. If this occurs, seek immediate medical attention to get assistance with breathing and make sure oxygen levels are sufficient.

Nonserious Side Effects

Some people taking albuterol may experience side effects such as:

  • a sore or dry throat
  • headaches
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • difficulty sleeping
  • a sinus infection
  • dizziness
  • tremors
  • nervousness 1

None of these side effects is serious, but inform your doctor if they become bothersome.

Serious Side Effects

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In rare cases, people taking albuterol may develop serious side effects that indicate a potential complication requiring medical treatment 1.

Warnings

Although albuterol is safe for most people, some should not take it without first speaking with their doctor 1. Always speak with your doctor about your complete medical history before taking any prescription medications.

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