NZ Formulary

Salbutamol (for inhalation)


What does it do?

Salbutamol opens narrowed airways in the lungs. It helps to relieve asthma symptoms and breathing problems.

How should you use it?

Inhale salbutamol as directed by your healthcare professional.

Can you take other medicines?

Tell your pharmacist or doctor about all medicines or treatments that you may be taking, including vitamins, herbal products or recreational drugs.

What side effects might you notice?

Side EffectsRecommended action

Fast or irregular heartbeat, chest pain

Tell your doctor

Tremor, muscle cramps

Headache, dizziness

Nervousness, trouble sleeping

Dry mouth, hoarse voice, unpleasant taste, cough

Tell your doctor if troublesome

If you notice any other effects, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.

Other information:

  • Tell your doctor if you have heart problems or high blood pressure.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.
  • Some people with asthma may get short of breath after taking certain pain-relieving medicines such as aspirin (e.g. Aspec®), diclofenac (e.g. Voltaren®) or ibuprofen (e.g. Nurofen®). Talk to your healthcare professional.
  • If you need to use salbutamol several times each week, your doctor may give you a ‘preventer’ inhaler. Preventers help reduce asthma symptoms and breathing problems.
  • The use of inhalers can sometimes make breathing worse. Discuss this with your healthcare professional.
  • Keep your salbutamol handy at all times, so you know where it is when you need it.