Salbutamol-versus-albuterol image

Bronchodilators are used for dilating your bronchioles and bronchi; these meds help increase airflow to the lungs. These meds are used for treating lung conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD) including asthma, bronchitis, bronchial asthma, etc. Bronchodilators are available as long-acting as well as short-action drugs. Of the bronchodilators widely sold through pharmacies, salbutamol and albuterol are very popular meds. Do you know the differences between these two bronchodilators? Or, is salbutamol the same as albuterol? It is of help to have more details.

Respiratory conditions like asthma include spells of wheezing, tightness of the chest, and frequent spells of coughing, panting, or gasping for breath. Lung conditions are triggered by bronchospasm (also known as bronchial spasm). Long-acting bronchodilators help prevent and control such respiratory conditions; short-action versions offer faster relief from breathing problems.

What is salbutamol?

This med is used for treating bronchospasms – those induced by exercises/workouts or by allergies. It is quite commonly used in “rescue” / short-term inhalers. These offer much-needed relief (on a fast-track mode) from spells of asthma or such obstruction in your airways.

Salbutamol was discovered in the mid-1960s and was approved for use. Salbutamol remains the international non-proprietary name (i.e., INN). Ventolin is the first drug brand based on this formulation, and it continues to be in use. However, the drug is sold under many brand names across the world.

So, what is albuterol?

Albuterol is the United States adopted name (USAN) of salbutamol; by and large, this med is the same as the latter. In the US, albuterol is a very popular bronchodilator. It is used as a rescue med owing to its short-action beta-agonist properties. This drug is mainly taken for treating bronchospasm which leads to constriction of your airways. Key ingredients of albuterol work to relax respiratory muscles thus easing your breathing cycles.

Salbutamol vs Albuterol – What are the differences?

Albuterol and salbutamol are known to have distinctive chemical constitutions and structures. Owing to these differences, the efficacy of these two meds tends to differ. The dosages as well as methods of delivery also vary. Salbutamol is mostly used in inhalers dispensing metered dosages. On the other hand, albuterol (which is a key ingredient of a brand called Proair) is widely used as a powder.

Interchanged use of these two meds may result in inaccurate doses, adverse side effects as well and ineffectiveness of treatment. For instance, excessive use of salbutamol is known to cause migraines and involuntary shaking of your body. Similarly, an overdose of albuterol can result in rapid heartbeats and pulse rate.

The choice of medication also varies on the severity of the underlying respiratory problem. In case of milder spells of COPD (like bronchitis), doses of albuterol are administered. But, in case of a severe bout of bronchial conditions like asthma, salbutamol fares as a better option. Another key difference rests upon the age of patients; albuterol is well-tolerated by children owing to its mild action. In the case of adults, salbutamol is better suited due to its highly potent capabilities.

Last but not least, the mode of delivery mechanism works as a differentiator between albuterol and salbutamol. As salbutamol is sold only as an inhaler form, if you have problems using an inhaling device – albuterol becomes a natural choice in such cases.

For a better understanding of albuterol vs salbutamol, it is a safe thing to talk to your treating doctor. Also, it is a good practice to know the capabilities, risks, and limitations of both these meds prior to starting your treatment plan.


Information provided here is only of a supplementary nature. Information shared here does not substitute a qualified doctor’s advice. This website does not suggest intake of this drug as safe or appropriate. Hence it is advised to talk to your doctor before consuming this med or any other drug.

Leave a Reply