Ventolin HFA

Ventolin HFA makes breathing easier for people with asthma. If your need for this medication increases, talk to your doctor as this may indicate worsening of your asthma.

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Pharmacist Lindsay Morrison, PharmD overviews the uses and common side effects of Ventolin HFA
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Ventolin HFA Overview

Reviewed: October 1, 2012
Updated: 

Ventolin HFA is a prescription medication used to treat bronchospasm (narrowing of airways) in people who have reversible obstructive airway disease. It may also used to prevent exercise-induced bronchospasm. Ventolin HFA belongs to a group of drugs called beta agonists. These cause the smooth muscle of the airways to relax, making it easier to breathe.

Ventolin HFA comes as aerosol to inhale by mouth using an inhaler. When Ventolin HFA is used to treat or prevent symptoms of lung disease, it is usually used every 4 to 6 hours as needed. When Ventolin HFA is used to prevent breathing difficulty during exercise, it is usually used 15 to 30 minutes before exercise.

Common side effects include fast heartbeat, shakiness, and nervousness.

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Ventolin HFA Cautionary Labels

precautionsprecautions

Uses of Ventolin HFA

Ventolin HFA is a prescription medication used in people 4 years of age and older to:

  • treat or prevent bronchospasm (narrowing of airways) in people who have reversible obstructive airway disease (asthma)
  • prevent exercise induced bronchospasm (narrowing of airways)

This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Manufacturer

Side Effects of Ventolin HFA

Ventolin HFA may cause serious side effects. See "Ventolin HFA Precautions" section.

The most common side effects of Ventolin HFA include:

  • your heart feels like it is pounding or racing (palpitations)
  • chest pain
  • fast heart rate
  • shakiness
  • nervousness
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • sore throat
  • runny nose

Tell your doctor if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.

These are not all of the possible side effects of Ventolin HFA. For more information, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Ventolin HFA Interactions

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Ventolin HFA and other medicines may affect each other and cause side effects. Ventolin HFA may affect the way other medicines work, and other medicines may affect the way Ventolin HFA works.

Especially tell your doctor if you take:

  • other inhaled medicines or asthma medicines
  • beta blocker medicines
  • diuretics
  • digoxin
  • monoamine oxidase inhibitors
  • tricyclic antidepressants

This is not a complete list of Ventolin HFA drug interactions. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Ventolin HFA Precautions

Ventolin HFA may cause serious side effects, including:

  • worsening trouble breathing, coughing and wheezing (paradoxical bronchospasm). If this happens stop using Ventolin HFA and call your doctor or get emergency help right away. Paradoxical bronchospasm is more likely to happen with your first use of a new canister of medicine.
  • heart problems including faster heart rate and higher blood pressure
  • possible death in people with asthma who use too much Ventolin HFA
  • allergic reactions. Call your doctor right away if you have the following symptoms of an allergic reaction:
    • itchy skin
    • swelling beneath your skin or in your throat
    • rash
    • worsening trouble breathing
  • low potassium levels in your blood
  • worsening of other medical problems in people who also use Ventolin HFA including increases in blood sugar

Do not use Ventolin HFA if you are allergic to Ventolin HFA or any of its ingredients.

Ventolin HFA Food Interactions

Medicines can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods. In the case of Ventolin HFA there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when receiving Ventolin HFA.

Inform MD

Before you use Ventolin HFA, tell your doctor if you:

  • have heart problems
  • have high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • have convulsions (seizures)
  • have thyroid problems
  • have diabetes
  • have low potassium levels in your blood
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if the medication in Ventolin HFA will harm your unborn baby. Talk to your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
  • are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if the medication in Ventolin HFA passes into your breast milk. Talk to your doctor about the best way to feed your baby if you are using Ventolin HFA.

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Ventolin HFA and Pregnancy

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. 

The FDA categorizes medications based on safety for use during pregnancy. Five categories - A, B, C, D, and X, are used to classify the possible risks to an unborn baby when a medication is taken during pregnancy.

The medication in Ventolin HFA falls into category C. There are no good studies that have been done in humans with Ventolin HFA. But in animal studies, pregnant animals were given this medication, and the babies did not show any medical issues related to this medication.

Ventolin HFA and Lactation

Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. 

It is not known if the medication in Ventolin HFA crosses into human milk. Because many medications can cross into human milk and because of the possibility for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants with use of this medication, a choice should be made whether to stop nursing or stop the use of this medication. Your doctor and you will decide if the benefits outweigh the risk of using Ventolin HFA.

Ventolin HFA Usage

Use Ventolin HFA exactly as your doctor tells you to use it.

If your child needs to use Ventolin HFA, watch your child closely to make sure your child uses the inhaler correctly. Your doctor will show you how your child should use Ventolin HFA.

When Ventolin HFA is used to treat or prevent symptoms of lung disease, it is usually used every 4 to 6 hours as needed.

When Ventolin HFA is used to prevent breathing difficulty during exercise, it is usually used 15 to 30 minutes before exercise.

  • Each dose of Ventolin HFA should last up to 4 hours to 6 hours.
  • Do not increase your dose or take extra doses of Ventolin HFA without first talking to your doctor.

Get medical help right away if Ventolin HFA no longer helps your symptoms.

Get medical help right away if your symptoms get worse or if you need to use your inhaler more often.

While you are using Ventolin HFA, do not use other inhaled rescue medicines and asthma medicines unless your doctor tells you to do so.

Call your doctor if your asthma symptoms like wheezing and trouble breathing become worse over a few hours or days. Your doctor may need to give you another medicine (for example, corticosteroids) to treat your symptoms.

Ventolin HFA Dosage

The dose your doctor recommends may be based on the following:

  • the condition being treated
  • other medical conditions you have
  • other medications you are taking
  • how you respond to this medication
  • your weight
  • your height
  • your age
  • your gender

Treatment of acute episodes of bronchospasm or prevention of asthmatic symptoms

  • The usual dosage for adults and children 12 years of age and older is 2 inhalations repeated every 4 to 6 hours
  • In some, 1 inhalation every 4 hours may be sufficient. More frequent use or a larger number of inhalations is not recommended.
  • For maintenance therapy or prevention of exacerbation of bronchospasm, 2 inhalations, 4 times a day should be sufficient.
  • If a previously effective dosage fails to provide the usual response, this may be a sign of worsening asthma and requires reevaluation of the treatment regimen.

​Exercise-Induced Bronchospasm Prevention

  • ​The usual dosage for adults and children 12 years and older is 2 inhalations, 15 minutes before exercise.

Ventolin HFA Overdose

If you take too much this medication, call your healthcare provider or local Poison Control Center, or seek emergency medical attention right away.

Other Requirements

Ventolin HFA 

  • Do not use the inhaler after the expiration date, which is on the packaging it comes in.
  • Store between 15° and 25° C (59° and 77° F). Avoid exposure to extreme heat and cold. For best results, canister should be at room temperature. Store the inhaler with the mouthpiece down. Shake well before each spray.
  • Do not puncture. Do not use or store near heat or open flame. Exposure to temperatures above 120°F may cause bursting. Never throw container into fire or incinerator.
  • It is very important to keep the plastic actuator clean so the medicine will not build-up and block the spray. Do not try to clean the metal canister or let it get wet. The inhaler may stop spraying if it is not cleaned correctly. Wash the actuator at least once a week with warm water and let it air-dry completely.
  • As with all aerosol medications, it is recommended to prime the inhaler before using for the first time and in cases where the inhaler has not been used for more than 2 weeks. Prime by releasing four “test sprays” into the air, away from your face.

Ventolin HFA 

  • Before you reach 200 sprays, you should refill your prescription or ask your doctor if you need another prescription for Ventolin HFA.
  • Throw the inhaler away when you have used 200 sprays. You should not keep using the inhaler after 200 sprays even though the canister may not be completely empty because you cannot be sure you will receive any medicine.

Ventolin HFA - with dose counter

  • Discard inhaler when the counter reads 000 or 12 months after it is taken out of the foil pouch, whichever comes first.
  • When the counter reads 020, contact your pharmacist for a refill or talk to your doctor to determine whether a prescription refill is needed.
  • Never try to alter the numbers or remove the counter from the metal canister.
  • Never immerse the canister in water to determine the amount of drug remaining in the canister.