Albuterol Inhaler Basics and Introductions
Albuterol is perhaps one of the most common bronchodilators used in “rescue” type asthma inhalers, along with a popular brand using it – Ventolin HFA. Just like most other drugs in this category, albuterol is a short-acting bronchodilator – a medical substance that can be used to quickly alleviate the symptoms of asthma or COPD.
A few of the most noteworthy traits of an albuterol inhaler include:
- Albuterol is a highly reliable asthma medication that can be used in emergency situations to stop an asthma attack in its tracks. This fact is reinforced by its use in the form of an inhaler, which allows to deliver the medication directly unto the ailing tissues of the lungs and airways.
- As a bronchodilator, albuterol works by opening, or “dilating” the airway tubes that transport air in and out of the lungs. This effect helps restore normal breathing and remove most symptoms of an asthma attack.
- When used, an albuterol inhaler can help alleviate such symptoms as shortness of breath, trouble breathing, wheezing, cough, and chest tightness as well as several other reactions associated with the onset of asthma.
- The effectiveness of albuterol has been tested and proved in numerous studies and research projects. It is estimated to be effective in at least 54% cases for patients with mild or moderate symptoms of asthma, temporarily alleviating at least 80% of all documented adverse effects.
- The time needed for albuterol to take effect is only 10 to 15 seconds after an inhalation, delivering its full spectrum of benefits over the next few minutes.
- Albuterol provides a lasting preventive “barrier” for recurrent symptoms, making them virtually nonexistent for the next 4 hours. This trait makes it useful as a preventer for sports-induced asthma.
- Although albuterol is not a cure for asthma, it has taken its rightful place as the cornerstone of any form of treatment for this disease. Every single patient diagnosed with asthma is always prescribed with a quick acting rescue inhaler to hold on to in case of emergency. After all, it is better to have one and not need it, than ignore it and regret later.
Difference Between Albuterol and Albuterol Sulfate
To remove any confusion over the two, let’s make it clear once and for all – albuterol and albuterol sulfate are exactly the same thing. The active component used as a bronchodilator is actually always albuterol sulfate, but the habit of making things short and concise has touched even the world of medicine. It is not uncommon for doctors to prescribe “albuterol” instead of “albuterol sulfate” since they know that the pharmacists know that it’s the same thing – it’s kind of an inside loop that unintentionally spreads confusion. Both albuterol and albuterol sulfate are words that describe the same medical compound.
Ventolin Inhaler Pros, Cons, and Solutions
In order to better understand what qualities an asthma patient or their parent can expect from an albuterol inhaler, let us explore the details which make up a particular brand of short acting rescue inhalers, namely – Ventolin. As you may have expected, Ventolin, just as about any other medication or medical device out there, has its own advantages and disadvantages when compared to other similar brands available on the market. Let us review these differences and you can see for yourself if this brand is worth a shot.
Staring off with the good stuff, the pros:
- Ventolin HFA is one the most commonly used brand of inhalers containing albuterol, and is among the most trusted and widely prescribed short-term relief inhalers in the US. There is a reason for this, since this particular inhaler has been thoroughly tested and its integrity is being protected by 17 unique patents.
- Ventolin HFA is preferred over its competitors for its simplicity and reliability of construction, sporting a convenient mechanism that measures the amount of remaining doses, and an ergonomic case made from impact resistant plastic.
- A standard Ventolin inhaler is good for 200 doses, which can be enough for a treatment period of over a year and a half, depending on the severity and specifics of your condition. This estimate is calculated based on the fact that you take no more than 2 doses a week, which is a sort of a borderline that may indicate that you may need other types of treatment (e.g. corticosteroids).
- The formulation of the inhalant contained in Ventolin HFA is known for its stability and resistance to separation into the original components, which plays in important part in preventing the compound from spraying unevenly when the inhaler is used, and granting better storage qualities of the product.
- Being placed at the second place on the market right after Proair HFA (based on yearly sales numbers), Ventolin can boast a lower price compared to similar brands.
The Cons, and Their Possible Solutions
This section contains all of the disadvantages we have found in the Ventolin HFA inhaler, and have provided comments on how a particular disadvantage can be countered.
Side Effects of Ventolin
Just like any other medication, Ventolin HFA has a set of side effects that may affect the user either on the first applications, or after an extended course of treatment. The list of side effects for Ventolin, however, does not usually include any more than a few standard effects that are all shared between every brand of bronchodilator-based rescue inhalers. To expand upon this segment, we have compiled an independent article on the side effects of albuterol – you can check it out by following a link located at the bottom of this page.
Alleged Assembly Faults
A few people consider the plastic casing and assembly elements of a Ventolin inhaler to be a little too fragile, especially for kids who are not known to care much about their direct environment when going about their daily lives. The logic stems from the fact that a damaged or incorrectly assembled inhaler cannot deliver its effects properly, making in unusable in case of emergency.
There are a few ways to avoid this possible hazard:
- Use a protective case for your child’s inhaler. This case can make sure the inhaler and all of its parts stay intact and clean. It is made convenient enough to not restrict the access to the inhaler at times of need. The custom-made ones are super stylish, too.
- Carry a spare inhaler with you. This way is actually more preferable, especially if your kid has a more severe form of asthma. No matter what happens to the original inhaler, the spare will always be there for backup in case of emergency.
Possible Infection Risk
Several concerns were raised regarding the risks involving infections when using a Ventolin inhaler. As you may know, to use an inhaler properly, one must put the mouthpiece directly inside the mouth. This may leave traces of saliva and other substances or hints of food present on the mouthpiece, creating favorable conditions for the growth of bacteria and other potential infectants. This may happen even if the protective cap is put back on the mouthpiece every time after use. One of the easiest ways to completely remove the risk of infection is to use antibacterial wipes to clean the mouthpiece after each use, reinforcing its safety.
As simple as they may seem, the step by step instructions composed for the greater ease of using your inhaler usually end up not being followed to a “T” by a considerable amount of patients. In fact, about 20% of people using inhalers use them incorrectly, and about a third of those people (about 7% total) receive greatly diminished results from the treatment, or none at all. This “fault” hardly places the guys that designed Ventolin inhaler at fault, since the basic form of this inhaler is about the most efficient kind available out there. But the problem still persists, and the only way to ensure your get the most from your treatment is to follow the proper inhaler technique, a version of which is made available to you on our website.
While these traits, both good and bad, do not include everything there is to say about Ventolin, we certainly think we have covered the majority of the more important aspects of this inhaler. More articles to come!