Bronchitis, asthma and other breathing disorders are categorized as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In most of these conditions, your airways become narrow, which increases your breathing cycles. Those who do not take proper medical care and drugs may cause severe damage to their respiratory system. Medications falling under a genre called bronchodilators are widely used for such breathing disorders. Levalbuterol forms part of this class of meds. Prior to starting your dosage plan, it is important to know how to safely use this bronchodilator.

Accumulation of mucus as well as tightening of muscles of your lungs can cause high level of stresses to your breathing cycle. These can cause discomforts in the form of panting for breath or slowdown of your respiration. Drugs of a class called bronchodilators help remove mucus and ease your lung muscles. Once your airways are cleared, air gets in and out with ease; in the process, your breathing becomes normal.

Of the widely used bronchodilator meds, levalbuterol decongests your air passages. In essence, this drug helps you to breathe easily. You may need to have an instrument called nebulizer to use this drug. This device atomizes the med (available in a liquid form) and helps these finer particles to reach your lungs. It is essential to know how to use this instrument prior to starting your medication plan.

Safe use of levalbuterol

In this milieu, it is important to remember that no two people with respiratory difficulties are prescribed with the same dosage of levalbuterol. Dosage strength, frequency of use and duration of the medication plan are dependent on multiple factors; key among these factors is body weight, age, gender, how acute is your respiratory ailment, presence of prior clinical condition, etc. One of the factors which determine the dosage strength is how well your body responds / reacts to the initial doses of this bronchodilator. It is important to follow all dosage-related instructions of your treating physician.

In this light, it becomes important to tell your treating doctor of prior heart problems (such as hypertension, irregular heartbeat, etc.), thyroid dysfunction, epileptic seizures, fits and / or convulsions. Those who are living with high / low blood sugar conditions or with conditions such as diabetes mellitus must keep their doctor updated of all such ailments. If you are taking drugs to treat diabetes, your caregiving team must be made aware of the dosage plan, strength of doses and duration of such a plan.

Those who are using a bronchodilator med such as albuterol or metaproterenol must update your caregiving team of such dosages. Administration of several bronchodilators may cause an overdose. The typical signs of an overdose of bronchodilator drugs are quicker pulse rate, rapid beating of heart, sweating, high level of blood pressure, palpitations, etc. Upon sensing one or more of these side effects, you are advised to discontinue the use of levalbuterol (or other bronchodilators) and seek medical help on an emergency basis.

In order to ensure added safety, it is highly recommended to share details about your medications you are currently using as well as treatment plans that you are actively pursuing. It is a safe practice to provide a list of the meds you are taking; in this list, add over the counter meds, prescription drugs supplements of vitamins, mineral aids, proteins, dietary aids as well as herbal drugs.

Safe dosage levels of levalbuterol

The strength and frequency of dosages can vary based on your age and intensity of your respiratory condition. In case of adults, metered dosages of levalbuterol (administered through an inhaler) are restricted to 2 inhales (at strengths of 90 micrograms – mcg) per 5 to 6 hours. However, if your condition is not very severe, a single inhalation per 3 to 4 hours is considered as adequate. As a nebulized solution, a dosage of 0.60 milligrams (mg) is offered at evenly spaced intervals of 6 to 7 hours. However, if your asthma attack gets very severe, upto 6 inhales (through inhaler) are prescribed within a span of 4 to 5 hours. In case of nebulised solution, a dosage of 1.30 mg is given thrice at a time interval of 20 minutes in between dosages.

The dosage strength is reduced significantly if the patient is a child or an infant. Each dose is restricted to 0.07 mg per kg. Maximum dosage of levalbuterol must never exceed 1.20 mg per dose. In case of teens or younger adults, dosage strength can be increased to 2 mg every 30 minutes for 2 to 3 hours. You are advised to shake the container before administering the doses. In case of metered dosages, a spacer device is recommended to ensure better control over the discharge of the drug into your airways.

Storage of levalbuterol at optimal conditions is important to ensure better efficacy of this bronchodilator. Ideal temperature for storage is 22 degrees Celsius i.e., ~ 72 degrees Fahrenheit. It is important to protect this med from an exposure to sunlight. Freezing this medication is harmful as it can make the drug to lose its treatment capabilities. The canister must never be incinerated or punctured. Once the container is indicating a zero level, you are advised to discard it without attempts to use it further on.

Those who are taking beta blocking drugs may cause loss of efficacy. Also, if you have had a history of substance abuse (such as cocaine), your treating doctor must be shared with needful details. Levalbuterol enables relaxation of lung muscles with the help of beta receptors but with no / limited effects on cardiac wellbeing. However, you are advised to check your rate of heartbeat and blood pressure levels on a regular basis. Also, if you are sensing signs of a likely myocardial infarction (such as sweating profusely, pounding of heart, pain in chest, etc.), you need to take clinical support on an emergency basis.

Those who are living in the US need to call 911 on an urgent mode; you may also reach out to the helpdesk of the food and drug administration (FDA) for needful care and support in a timely manner. Users living in a Canadian province are strongly recommended to call Health Canada or rush to a poison control unit locate closer to your home.

As an extended safety precaution, those who are planning to become pregnant must make their caregiving team know of such plans. Clinical studies done on this drug have not clearly evidenced the safety of this med on pregnant women. Hence, it is not clear if the active ingredients of levalbuterol cause any harm to your fetus / unborn infant. Caregiving teams are known to prescribe safer alternatives, considering the safety of your fetus.

Similarly, women who are breastfeeding or nursing a newly born infant must take needful precautions. Medical sciences are unable to conclude if levalbuterol (i.e., its active chemicals) enters into mother’s milk. There have been some instances wherein babies who fed milk containing traces of levalbuterol developed sleeping problems and feeding difficulties. In a few cases, babies who drank such milk were observed to cry more frequently. So, nursing or breastfeeding women are advised to seek needful guidance from your treating physician prior to taking levalbuterol.

Last but not the least, the inhaler version of levalbuterol is unsafe for children aged below 4 years. Also, the nebulised version of levalbuterol is never administered onto children aged lesser than 6 years. Owing to such risks, it is a safe practice to talk to your child’s doctor (pediatrician) prior to starting your child’s treatment. Above all, if this drug is being sued by children aged between 8 years to 18 years, such usage needs to be under the supervision and guidance of an adult. It is a safe practice to wipe the cap and clean the inhaler once in 7 days’ time. While storing the canister, ensure that place is beyond the reach of your child or pets. It is equally essential to store it at room temperature and especially, keep it away from direct heat or light sources.

In sum, levalbuterol helps decongest the air passages and eases breathing cycles. Among adults, dosages (with an inhaler) are limited to 2 inhales of 45 micrograms each over every 6 hours. For severe spells of asthma, 6 inhales (through inhaler) are prescribed within a timeline of 6 hours. Use of levalbuterol with other bronchodilators like albuterol can result in an overdose. Symptoms of overdose include erratic pulse rate, faster heartbeats, palpitations coupled with excessive spells of sweating, fainting, chest pain, etc. Upon sensing any of these signs, it is highly recommended to consult with your treating doctor / pharmacist without any further delay.

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