How does salbutamol work?
Salbutamol is a type of medicine called a bronchodilator. It works by relaxing the muscles of the airways into the lungs, which makes it easier to breathe.
How long does salbutamol take to work?
When you have a puff of your salbutamol inhaler it works almost straight away to make your breathing easier. It carries on working for about 5 hours.
How long will I need to use my salbutamol inhaler for?
Most people will use salbutamol for many years. Once your breathing is better, it may be possible for you or your child to use salbutamol less often. But you should always have your salbutamol inhaler with you so you can use it as soon as you have breathing problems.
Do not stop taking salbutamol unless your doctor tells you to. If you stop taking salbutamol your breathing problems could get worse. Even if you only have to use salbutamol occasionally, keep your inhaler with you all the time in case you have a sudden attack.
Is it safe to use a salbutamol inhaler for a long time?
Salbutamol is a very safe medicine. There's no evidence that it does any lasting damage to your body even if you use it for many years.
Do I need to keep a salbutamol diary?
It's a good idea to keep a diary of how often you need to use your salbutamol inhaler. That way you can discuss how it's helping your asthma or COPD with your doctor or nurse.
Keeping a diary will also help you know when to order a replacement inhaler. Some inhalers contain a fixed number of 200 doses and it's not always obvious when they are empty.
Will it affect my fertility?
There's no firm evidence to suggest that taking salbutamol will reduce fertility in either men or women.
Will it affect my contraception?
Salbutamol does not affect any type of contraception including the contraceptive pill and emergency contraception.
Can I drink alcohol with it?
Yes, you can drink alcohol with salbutamol.
Can I smoke if I use a salbutamol inhaler?
Try not to smoke. Smoking irritates the lungs and will make your breathing problem worse. Speak to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist if you're finding it hard to stop smoking. There is help available on the NHS.
Can I drive or ride a bike?
Salbutamol can make you feel dizzy or shaky. If this happens, do not drive, cycle or use tools or machinery until you feel better.