Ventolin (Albuterol Sulfate)


1.1 Bronchospasm

VENTOLIN® HFA Inhalation Aerosol is indicated for the treatment or prevention of bronchospasm in patients aged 4 years and older with reversible obstructive airway disease.

1.2 Exercise-Induced Bronchospasm

VENTOLIN HFA is indicated for the prevention of exercise-induced bronchospasm in patients aged 4 years and older.


VENTOLIN HFA is contraindicated in patients with a history of hypersensitivity to any of the ingredients.

adverse reactions

Use of VENTOLIN HFA may be associated with the following:

Paradoxical bronchospasm
Cardiovascular effects
Immediate hypersensitivity reactions

6.1 Clinical Trials Experience

Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared with rates in the clinical trials of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in practice.

The safety data described below reflects exposure to VENTOLIN HFA in 248 subjects treated with VENTOLIN HFA in 3 placebo-controlled clinical trials of 2 to 12 weeks’ duration. The data from adults and adolescents is based upon 2 clinical trials in which 202 subjects with asthma aged 12 years and older were treated with VENTOLIN HFA 2 inhalations 4 times daily for 12 weeks’ duration. The adult/adolescent population was 92 female, 110 male and 163 white, 19 black, 18 Hispanic, 2 other. The data from pediatric subjects are based upon 1 clinical trial in which 46 subjects with asthma aged 4 to 11 years were treated with VENTOLIN HFA 2 inhalations 4 times daily for 2 weeks’ duration. The population was 21 female, 25 male and 25 white, 17 black, 3 Hispanic, 1 other.

Adult and Adolescent Subjects Aged 12 Years and Older: The two 12-week, randomized, double-blind trials in 610 adult and adolescent subjects with asthma that compared VENTOLIN HFA, a CFC 11/12-propelled albuterol inhaler, and an HFA-134a placebo inhaler. Overall, the incidence and nature of the adverse reactions reported for VENTOLIN HFA and a CFC 11/12-propelled albuterol inhaler were comparable. Table 1 lists the incidence of all adverse reactions (whether considered by the investigator to be related or unrelated to drug) from these trials that occurred at a rate of 3% or greater in the group treated with VENTOLIN HFA and more frequently in the group treated with VENTOLIN HFA than in the HFA-134a placebo inhaler group.

Table 1. Adverse Reactions with VENTOLIN HFA with ≥3% Incidence and More Common than Placebo in Adult and Adolescent Subjects

Adverse Reaction

Percent of Subjects


(n = 202)


CFC 11/12-Propelled

Albuterol Inhaler

(n = 207)


Placebo HFA-134a

(n = 201)


Ear, nose, and throat

Throat irritation




Upper respiratory inflammation




Lower respiratory

Viral respiratory infections









Musculoskeletal pain




Adverse reactions reported by less than 3% of the adult and adolescent subjects receiving VENTOLIN HFA and by a greater proportion of subjects receiving VENTOLIN HFA than receiving HFA-134a placebo inhaler and that have the potential to be related to VENTOLIN HFA include diarrhea, laryngitis, oropharyngeal edema, cough, lung disorders, tachycardia, and extrasystoles. Palpitations and dizziness have also been observed with VENTOLIN HFA.

Pediatric Subjects Aged 4 to 11 Years: Results from the 2-week clinical trial in pediatric subjects with asthma aged 4 to 11 years showed that this pediatric population had an adverse reaction profile similar to that of the adult and adolescent populations.

Three trials have been conducted to evaluate the safety and efficacy of VENTOLIN HFA in subjects between birth and 4 years of age. The results of these trials did not establish the efficacy of VENTOLIN HFA in this age-group. Since the efficacy of VENTOLIN HFA has not been demonstrated in children between birth and 48 months of age, the safety of VENTOLIN HFA in this age-group cannot be established. However, the safety profile observed in the pediatric population younger than 4 years was comparable to that observed in the older pediatric subjects and in adults and adolescents. Where adverse reaction incidence rates were greater in subjects younger than 4 years compared with older subjects, the higher incidence rates were noted in all treatment arms, including placebo. These adverse reactions included upper respiratory tract infection, nasopharyngitis, pyrexia, and tachycardia.

6.2 Postmarketing Experience

In addition to adverse reactions reported from clinical trials, the following adverse reactions have been identified during postapproval use of albuterol sulfate. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure. These events have been chosen for inclusion due to either their seriousness, frequency of reporting, or causal connection to albuterol or a combination of these factors.

Cases of paradoxical bronchospasm, hoarseness, arrhythmias (including atrial fibrillation, supraventricular tachycardia), and hypersensitivity reactions (including urticaria, angioedema, rash) have been reported after the use of VENTOLIN HFA.

In addition, albuterol, like other sympathomimetic agents, can cause adverse reactions such as hypokalemia, hypertension, peripheral vasodilatation, angina, tremor, central nervous system stimulation, hyperactivity, sleeplessness, headache, muscle cramps, drying or irritation of the oropharynx, and metabolic acidosis.

warnings and precautions

5.1 Paradoxical Bronchospasm

VENTOLIN HFA can produce paradoxical bronchospasm, which may be life threatening. If paradoxical bronchospasm occurs following dosing with VENTOLIN HFA, it should be discontinued immediately and alternative therapy should be instituted. It should be recognized that paradoxical bronchospasm, when associated with inhaled formulations, frequently occurs with the first use of a new canister.

5.2 Deterioration of Asthma

Asthma may deteriorate acutely over a period of hours or chronically over several days or longer. If the patient needs more doses of VENTOLIN HFA than usual, this may be a marker of destabilization of asthma and requires reevaluation of the patient and treatment regimen, giving special consideration to the possible need for anti-inflammatory treatment, e.g., corticosteroids.

5.3 Use of Anti-inflammatory Agents

The use of beta-adrenergic agonist bronchodilators alone may not be adequate to control asthma in many patients. Early consideration should be given to adding anti-inflammatory agents, e.g., corticosteroids, to the therapeutic regimen.

5.4 Cardiovascular Effects

VENTOLIN HFA, like all other beta2-adrenergic agonists, can produce clinically significant cardiovascular effects in some patients such as changes in pulse rate or blood pressure. If such effects occur, VENTOLIN HFA may need to be discontinued. In addition, beta-agonists have been reported to produce electrocardiogram (ECG) changes, such as flattening of the T wave, prolongation of the QTc interval, and ST segment depression. The clinical relevance of these findings is unknown. Therefore, VENTOLIN HFA, like all other sympathomimetic amines, should be used with caution in patients with underlying cardiovascular disorders, especially coronary insufficiency, cardiac arrhythmias, and hypertension.

5.5 Do Not Exceed Recommended Dose

Fatalities have been reported in association with excessive use of inhaled sympathomimetic drugs in patients with asthma. The exact cause of death is unknown, but cardiac arrest following an unexpected development of a severe acute asthmatic crisis and subsequent hypoxia is suspected.

5.6 Immediate Hypersensitivity Reactions

Immediate hypersensitivity reactions (e.g., urticaria, angioedema, rash, bronchospasm, hypotension), including anaphylaxis, may occur after administration of VENTOLIN HFA.

5.7 Coexisting Conditions

VENTOLIN HFA, like other sympathomimetic amines, should be used with caution in patients with convulsive disorders, hyperthyroidism, or diabetes mellitus and in patients who are unusually responsive to sympathomimetic amines. Large doses of intravenous albuterol have been reported to aggravate preexisting diabetes mellitus and ketoacidosis.

5.8 Hypokalemia

Beta-adrenergic agonist medicines may produce significant hypokalemia in some patients, possibly through intracellular shunting, which has the potential to produce adverse cardiovascular effects. The decrease in serum potassium is usually transient, not requiring supplementation.


The expected signs and symptoms with overdosage of albuterol are those of excessive beta-adrenergic stimulation and/or occurrence or exaggeration of any of the signs and symptoms of beta-adrenergic stimulation (e.g., seizures, angina, hypertension or hypotension, tachycardia with rates up to 200 beats/min, arrhythmias, nervousness, headache, tremor, muscle cramps, dry mouth, palpitation, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, malaise, insomnia, hyperglycemia, hypokalemia, metabolic acidosis).

As with all inhaled sympathomimetic medicines, cardiac arrest and even death may be associated with an overdose of VENTOLIN HFA Inhalation Aerosol.

Treatment consists of discontinuation of VENTOLIN HFA together with appropriate symptomatic therapy. The judicious use of a cardioselective beta-receptor blocker may be considered, bearing in mind that such medication can produce bronchospasm. There is insufficient evidence to determine if dialysis is beneficial for overdosage of VENTOLIN HFA.


The active component of VENTOLIN HFA is albuterol sulfate, USP, the racemic form of albuterol and a relatively selective beta2-adrenergic bronchodilator. Albuterol sulfate has the chemical name α1-[(tert-butylamino)methyl]-4-hydroxy-m-xylene-α, α′-diol sulfate (2:1)(salt) and the following chemical structure:

Albuterol sulfate is a white crystalline powder with a molecular weight of 576.7, and the empirical formula is (C13H21NO3)2•H2SO4. It is soluble in water and slightly soluble in ethanol.

The World Health Organization recommended name for albuterol base is salbutamol.

VENTOLIN HFA is a blue plastic inhaler with a blue strapcap containing a pressurized metered-dose aerosol canister fitted with a counter. Each canister contains a microcrystalline suspension of albuterol sulfate in propellant HFA-134a (1,1,1,2-tetrafluoroethane). It contains no other excipients.

After priming, each actuation of the inhaler delivers 120 mcg of albuterol sulfate, USP in 75 mg of suspension from the valve and 108 mcg of albuterol sulfate, USP from the mouthpiece (equivalent to 90 mcg of albuterol base from the mouthpiece).

Prime VENTOLIN HFA before using for the first time, when the inhaler has not been used for more than 2 weeks, or when the inhaler has been dropped. To prime VENTOLIN HFA, release 4 sprays into the air away from the face, shaking well before each spray.

VENTOLIN Package Photos

About the Author

Truman Lewis
Truman has been a bureau chief and correspondent in D.C., Los Angeles, Phoenix and elsewhere, reporting for radio, television, print and news services, for more than 30 years. Most recently, he has reported extensively on health and consumer issues for and