Ventolin is a common type of “reliever” inhaler. This means it can be used to treat the symptoms of asthmaincluding breathlessness or a cough. Ventolin is the trade name, and the active ingredient is salbutamol.
- Ventolin is a prescribed medication used to treat the symptoms of asthma in adults and children.
- It can also be used to treat Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) in adults.
- It should be taken when symptoms including wheeze, cough or breathlessness start.
- One puff of a Ventolin inhaler contains 100mcg of salbutamol, and two puffs are frequently advised to treat symptoms.
- Ventolin works within a few minutes and lasts for about four to six hours.
- It is important to read the patient leaflet for a full list of side effects and cautions.
How Does Ventolin Work?
Ventolin is a bronchodilator. This means that the salbutamol contained within the inhaler dilates, or widens, the airways to make it easier to breathe in and out. The air passages become wider, reducing wheeze and the feeling of breathlessness.
As it works within minutes, Ventolin should be taken during an exacerbation of symptoms. It is likely that you will also need a “preventer” inhaler in addition to Ventolin to try to prevent exacerbations.
How Is Ventolin Taken?
Ventolin is taken when symptoms of asthma or COPD are present. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s information to ensure you take Ventolin properly. A common dose is two puffs when required. Further puffs can be taken if the first two do not completely resolve the exacerbation.
The inhaler should be shaken prior to use. Gently breathe out and then place the inhaler into your mouth. Press the canister down, and inhale to draw the Ventolin in as you breathe. Hold your breath to allow time for the medication to get deep into your lungs, and then exhale. If you are prescribed a second dose, repeat these steps once more. Taking an inhaler can take some practice, and some people find it helpful to practice in front of a mirror for their first attempts.
Ventolin inhalers can be combined with a spacer device to make it easier to get the drug into the airways within the lungs. In this case, the Ventolin is sprayed into the spacer chamber, and then the medication can be inhaled at your own pace. This is ideal for children and those who find it difficult to co-ordinate inhaling the medication.
What is the proper dosage of Ventolin?
Salbutamol 100mcg / 200mcg
Be sure to check the personalised instructions printed on your medication. Each puff of Ventolin contains 100mcg of salbutamol and it is commonly advised to take two puffs during an exacerbation of asthma or COPD.
If two puffs are not enough to settle your symptoms, you may need to take a further two puffs. Make sure that you do not exceed the maximum number of doses you can take in a 24 hour period, and seek advice urgently if your symptoms are not settling.
If you notice you need to take Ventolin more frequently or are taking it more than twice a week, speak to a medical professional. It is possible that you may need to increase the dose of your preventer inhaler.
Are there any side effects to Ventolin?
Ventolin is a commonly used medication. However, it does have some common side effects. These are usually well tolerated and settle fairly quickly. Side effects include:
- A tremor or feeling shaky
- Mild muscle cramps or tension
- Feeling aware of your heartbeat.
These side effects will not cause harm and are likely to settle as you get used to taking Ventolin.
Very rarely, some more serious side effects can occur. These include:
- A heartbeat that doesn’t feel normal, or very bad dizziness
- Chest pain
- Severe headache
- Muscle pain or weakness.