How does albuterol help treat asthma?

Stacy Wiegman, PharmD
Pharmacy Specialist

Asthma is a condition in which the airways in your lungs get narrow, swell up, produce excess mucus and complicate breathing. Albuterol (or salbutamol) is a bronchodilator that helps prevent and relieve the bronchial spasms that narrow the airways in your lungs. Albuterol relaxes the airway muscles, which can relieve symptoms including coughing, shortness of breath and wheezing. It works on the nervous system by activating the beta receptors, whose purpose is to help send signals to the smooth muscles, such as the muscles along the bronchial tubes in the lungs. Albuterol signals these muscles to relax, so that they do not spasm.

Albuterol is not a cure for asthma.

Extended-release tablets
The extended-release version of albuterol sulfate is intended to provide relief for some of the symptoms of asthma, such as wheezing, tightness and labored breathing. It's also not a cure, and so while taking it you may find that you still have trouble breathing.

Talk to your doctor about your treatment options if your asthma symptoms persist while you're on albuterol extended-release tablets. They may decide to prescribe other medications, such as corticosteroids, which can reduce inflammation in the airways.

Albuteral and NovoLog
People with diabetes can take NovoLog if they need to take albuterol for asthma. Check your blood sugar to make sure you do not have low blood sugar before taking NovoLog and do not skip meals after either dose.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.