Pirbuterol is used to treat wheezing and shortness of breath that commonly occur with lung problems (e.g., asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease-COPD). Controlling these symptoms can decrease time lost from work or school. Pirbuterol is a bronchodilator (beta-2 receptor agonist) that works by opening breathing passages to make breathing easier. This medicine comes in an inhaler that automatically releases a puff of medicine when you inhale. The inhaler allows the drug to reach deep into the lungs for the most benefit. Because this type of inhaler is used differently than other types, be sure to follow directions closely.
Read the Patient Information Leaflet for instructions on proper use of this medication and the proper cleaning of the mouthpiece. Consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
Shake the canister well before each test spray and inhalation. Follow the instructions for test sprays in the air if you are using a new canister or if you have not used it for 48 hours. This is also called priming your inhaler. Avoid spraying the medication in your eyes. A fine mist is a sign that the inhaler is working properly.
Use this medication exactly as prescribed. Inhale by mouth, usually every 4 to 6 hours as needed or as directed by your doctor. Take the cap off the mouthpiece and prepare the inhaler as shown in the Patient Information Leaflet. Place the mouthpiece near your mouth and exhale. Place the mouthpiece fully into your mouth and breathe in deeply. Hold your breath for 10 seconds if possible to allow the drug to be absorbed. If more than one inhalation is prescribed, wait at least 1 full minute between inhalations. Rinse your mouth after using this medication to help prevent dryness and throat irritation.
If you are using other inhalers at the same time, wait at least 1 minute between the use of each medication.
Dosage is based on your medical condition and response to therapy. Take this medication exactly as directed to get the most benefit from it. Do not take more of this medication or take it more often than recommended by your doctor.
Clean the mouthpiece at least once weekly as directed in the Patient Information Leaflet. It should also be cleaned any time it appears to be clogged or is not working correctly.
If you notice less effect than usual from this medication, if your symptoms get worse, or if you feel you need to take any of your asthma medications more often than recommended, seek immediate medical attention.
Keep track of the number of inhalations used from each canister. Discard the canister after you have used the number of inhalations marked on the manufacturer's package. Sprays used to prime the inhaler should also be counted. Do not float the metal canister in water to test whether any more drug is left in the canister.
Learn which of your inhalers you should use every day (controller drugs) and which you should use if your breathing suddenly worsens (quick-relief drugs). Ask your doctor ahead of time what you should do if you have new or worsening cough or shortness of breath, wheezing, increased sputum, worsening peak flow meter readings, waking up at night with trouble breathing, if you use your quick-relief inhaler more often (more than 2 days a week), or if your quick-relief inhaler does not seem to be working well. Learn when you can treat sudden breathing problems by yourself and when you must get medical help right away.
Headache, nausea, vomiting, nervousness, dizziness, shaking (tremor), trouble sleeping, stomach upset, dry mouth, bad taste, cough, or sore throat may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Rarely, this medication has caused severe (rarely fatal), sudden worsening of breathing problems/asthma (paradoxical bronchospasm). If you experience sudden wheezing, seek immediate medical attention.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Before taking pirbuterol, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to similar bronchodilators (e.g., albuterol, levalbuterol, salmeterol); or to sympathomimetic drugs (e.g., epinephrine, pseudoephedrine); or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: heart disease (e.g., high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythm, coronary insufficiency), seizures, overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism), diabetes, low blood potassium level (hypokalemia).
This drug may make you dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. Limit alcoholic beverages.
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
Caution is advised when using this drug in the elderly because they may be more sensitive to the effects of the drug, especially the effects on the heart.
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
It is not known whether this drug passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: chest pain, fast/pounding/irregular heartbeat, headache, shaking (tremors), nervousness, weakness, severe dizziness, seizures.
Do not share this medication with others.
Avoid allergens, irritants, smoking, and other factors that make asthma worse.
Laboratory and/or medical tests (e.g., blood pressure, heart rate, EKG, blood potassium levels) may be performed from time to time to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.
Learn to use a peak flow meter, use it daily, and promptly report worsening asthma (such as readings in the yellow/red range or increased use of quick-relief inhalers).
If you are using pirbuterol regularly and miss a dose, use it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Store at room temperature between 59-86 degrees F (15-30 degrees C) away from light and moisture. Do not puncture the canister or expose it to high heat or open flame. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medicines away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company for more details about how to safely discard your product.
MEDICAL ALERT: Your condition can cause complications in a medical emergency. For information about enrolling in MedicAlert, call 1-888-633-4298 (US) or 1-800-668-1507 (Canada).
Information last revised April 2014. Copyright(c) 2014 First Databank, Inc.
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