Medications to treat asthma and certain lung conditions include use of Albuterol or Salbutamol, known by respective brand names. Due to the potency of the medication and the effectiveness linked to the formulation, the drugs are often assumed to be steroids. A common question on the minds of patients and caregivers is – does either Ventolin or albuterol contain steroids? Following subsections offer a detailed look at the medication, offering answers to this question. This will help clear apprehensions and also give patients a clear idea, so as to make the right decisions and to use the medications as recommended, for desired outcomes.

Overview – Is albuterol a steroid?

Albuterol and Salbutamol are essentially the same, and are actually different naming conventions for the same drug. Belonging to the category of beta-2 adrenergic receptor agonist, the medication is used in the treatment of asthma and bronchitis. It is also used as part of treatment in patients diagnosed with COPD apart from being used as preventive medication for individuals who experience bronchospasms that are classified as exercise induced. The medication’s bronchodilator effect causes a relaxation of the smooth muscles in the airways, and this offers relief for patients with breathing complications or problems. The medication can be safely used by adults as well as children.

Mechanism of action of albuterol

The outcomes of the drug are attributed to the properties and the mechanism of action, including the effects on beta2-adrenergic receptors. The drug is known to cause activation of beta2-adrenergic receptors, and this in turn is responsible for the increase in cyclic AMP. Consequently, activation of protein kinase A occurs, and this brings about relaxation of the smooth muscles in the airways. This relaxation offers relief from different conditions that result in bronchoconstriction. The drug has been documented to cause maximum bronchial smooth muscle relaxation in the respiratory tract, and this has been reported to take effect within 15 minutes of inhalation. The maximum or optimal effects are experienced within one and a half hour of inhalation, with the effects known to last for almost six hours.

Possible overdose effects of albuterol

The drug is to be taken as per the recommended dosage only and any increase in dosage or overdose may result in possible decrease in potassium levels, or could impact blood sugar levels that may either spike or reduce drastically. Overdose of albuterol could also result in possible spasms of the muscle, and tremors. Patients may also experience high blood pressure levels due to excessive dosage.

Symptoms that are indicative of albuterol overdose

Certain tell-tale symptoms indicate overdose of albuterol. For instance, the patient may experience a distinct tightening of the chest, or the pattern of breathing may change to a shallow or rapid rate. Other indictive symptoms include wheezing, and possible impact on vision; the patient may view objects as blurred. Pain in the chest, and an abnormal tingling sensation in the hands and feet are also indications of overdose. Individuals are known to experience seizures as a result of overdose of the drug. While some of the effects of overdose are typically minor in nature, some may require medical intervention.

Does either Ventolin or albuterol contain steroids?

With the basic information about the drug in place, it is now time to answer the question. Albuterol is not a steroid, and it is different from other categories of inhaled steroids, that are commonly known as inhaled corticosteroids. The latter category of drugs is preventive in nature and are intended to offer sustained or extended relief in the airways by preventing swelling.

What are steroids?

It is necessary to understand a little more about steroids to know the difference between albuterol and other steroids. Steroids are essentially medications that belong to the category of anti-inflammatory drugs. There is another category of steroids, known as anabolic steroids and these are substances, that are generally used illegally by individuals as a shortcut to increase in muscle mass. Anabolic steroids are different from steroids used for inflammatory conditions, and this is often the reason for confusion and apprehension about the drug. Most steroids are prescribed for a shorter duration, and does not generally cause serious side effects. Steroids are typically used for treating asthma, COPD, hives, eczema, inflammatory bowel disease and Crohn’s disease among others.

Commonly reported side effects of albuterol

All medications come with the possibility of undesirable effects and Albuterol is no exception. Side effects are generally of two categories, mild or moderate effects and serious or adverse effects. While the mild effects are relatively common in occurrence, the serious effects are rare in nature. It is important to bear in mid that all patients may not experience undesirable effects of drugs, with a significant percentage of users free from all undesirable outcomes. Here is a look at the commonly experienced effects of albuterol; this is not a complete or exhaustive compilation and is only intended as a reference of the broad categories of unwanted effects.

Effects that are frequently reported include nervous feelings, bouts of coughing and possible irritation in the throat. Patients may experience bronchospasm and may also have to put up with irritation in the nasal passage. Infections in the upper respiratory tract are also likely to occur, while some patients are known to experience tremors and may get excited quite easily. This tends to aggravate or amplify with age.

Effects that are regarded as serious in nature include shaking that is abnormal and uncontrollable. The outbreak of rashes is also to be reported for suitable treatment, as this could aggravate to a more serious condition later, if left untreated. The pace of heartbeat may increase considerably, while some are known to experience pain in the chest, and possible swelling in the face, which may also extend to the limb extremities. Patients experiencing any difficulty in breathing, or labored breathing, or any difficulty in swallowing are to seek medical intervention at the earliest. Certain effects are stronger when taken as Albuterol tablets, while certain effects are aggravated among elderly patients.

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