A build-up of mucus inside your lungs can lead to respiratory conditions such as wheezing, panting or gasping for breath. Hence, removal of mucus becomes important to breath easily. In this light, meds belonging to a class called bronchodilators are widely prescribed. These meds open up your air passages and streamline the flow of air in and out of them. People with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorders (COPD) such as asthma or bronchitis are commonly known to use these drugs. Levalbuterol is one such med. What are the precautions associated with the safe use of this bronchodilator?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease i.e., COPD, often results in breathing difficulties. These disorders can make you feel suffocated, and may leave you panting for your breath. Timely treatment is needed for these breathing conditions; those who leave them unattended may find their lungs undergo severe damages. Not stopping with lungs, over a period of time, your other essential organs may also tend to get affected. Drugs such as bronchodilators ease breathing difficulties by widening your air passages.

Levalbuterol is categorized under a genre of drugs called as bronchodilators. This drug is used for decongesting your airways and lungs, which helps in the treatment of your breathing difficulties. This is considered as a quick relief medication; it quickly eases the muscles of your lungs and opens up your air passages. This drug is used in a special device known as the nebulizer. This device changes the liquid into a finer mist, and makes it easy to inhale. Your caregiving team will help you know how to administer this drug i.e., by the effective use of a nebulizing device.

Precautions needed prior to the use of levalbuterol

In case of children or younger adults who witness breathing difficulties, this med is administered with the help of parents or other responsible family members. Prior to using this bronchodilator, ensure the liquid is plain and clear. Also, check if there are any visually perceptible foreign particles. Moreover, return the product if you the liquid is discolored.

Always remember that this drug is used only through the nebulizer. Hence, it must never be injected or swallowed; also, it is dangerous to combine it with other drugs. Those who never cleaned their device run the risk of infections; so, always clean your mouthpiece properly and better still, wear a mask as per your caregiver’s instructions. It is essential to use this drug regularly for better outcomes. It is a good practice to use this med at the same timeslot each day.

No two people with breathing problems are prescribed with the same dosage plan. Your treatment plan varies based on your age, body weight, severity of your breathing problem and how well your body takes the first few dosages of this bronchodilator drug. It is equally essential to adhere to the use of this drug as instructed by your doctor. Overdose of this drug can cause serious reactions and very adverse side effects.

One of the main precautions is to never use levalbuterol when there is no breathing difficulty. You may witness adverse signs such as erratic pulse rate, faster heartbeat, enhanced level of acid in bloodstream and an increased rate of breathing. Also, if you already using other forms of bronchodilators like metaproterenol, salmeterol, albuterol, etc., your treating doctor must know more details about such medication plans. Use of more than one bronchodilator can lead to an overdosed condition. It is hence a safe practice to share needful details about the medications you are currently taking as well as of treatment plan you are presently pursuing. As you share these details, ensure to add over the counter drugs, prescription meds / herbal medications, supplements of minerals, vitamins and proteins. Last but not least, if you are using any dietary aids, your treating physician must be made aware of them.

If you are pregnant, needless administration of bronchodilators like levalbuterol may lead to giving birth prematurely or delivery of infants with lower weight. Those who are planning to get pregnant are advised to use suitable non-hormonal contraceptives. Women who are breastfeeding may have to keep off this med. Key chemicals of levalbuterol are more likely to get into breastmilk; though, the studies done on this head are largely inconclusive. Infants who feed on such milk may develop sleeping difficulties, feeding disorders, etc.

Levalbuterol is also used as a rescue drug; hence, it is advised to store it at home. Beware of a few adverse side effects its use may cause. Common side effects include insomnia or other forms of sleeping problems, dryness of mouth or spells of dehydration, feeling dizzy or excessive spells of drowsiness, tremors or shakes. Most of these side effects may go away as you pursue ahead you’re your dosage plan. But, if any of these adverse reactions persist for long, consult with your treating doctor without any further delay.

This drug and its active ingredients may cause hypertension or increase in blood pressure level. Owing to this risk, you are advised to monitor your blood pressure level on a regular basis. In some one-off instances, this drug may cause pain in your chest, rapid breathing cycles, worsened spells of breathing difficulties, etc. Always remember that your doctor has prescribed this med as its merits far exceed the risks of adverse side effects.

In some very rare cases, this bronchodilator may cause a few allergic reactions like rashes on skin, inflammation, itchiness and passing out. Upon encountering any of these discomforts, talk to your treating physician as quickly as you possibly can. If any of these allergies persist for long, call 911 or the helpline of food & drug administration (FDA) – if you are living in the US. If you are a Canadian resident, reach out to Health Canada or call a poison control unit located in your province.

You are advised to read the booklet containing patient information carefully. Also, talk to your physician and understand the steps to be taken if your breathing cycles worsen soon after taking this med. Those who have prior or known allergies to the active ingredients of levalbuterol must tell their treating doctor about such conditions. Those who have prior medical conditions such as diabetes mellitus, cardiac ailments such as recent heart attacks, chest in pain region, erratic heartbeats, etc., hypertension (high level of blood pressure), etc. must keep their caregiving team updated of these conditions. Users who are living with epileptic seizures, convulsions, fits or renal dysfunction (such as lesser discharge of urine, painful spells of urination, etc.) must make their doctor aware of all such ailments.

This drug can make you dizzy or feel very drowsy. Hence, it is harmful to take alcohol while you are using this bronchodilator. If you drink regularly or take an intoxicating substance (such as marijuana or cannabis), tell your caregiver about such habits. Those who have had prior spells of substance abuse must take added precautions while using this medication. As a safety measure, never engage in activities that demand a high level of mental focus and / or concentration. It can be extremely dangerous if you are driving a vehicle or working with heavy machinery; such practices can inflict harm to you as well as to others around you.
If you are opting for a surgery or a dental procedure, your caregiving team must know of your medication plan. As this bronchodilator may adversely interact with anesthetic meds, your surgeon (or dentist) may advise discontinuing the use of this med during the run up stage. It is more likely that you may be advised to stop taking this drug for at least 2 weeks prior to your surgical intervention or dental procedure. It is a safe practice to use this drug as per the instructions of your treating doctor. Those who used this drug in excess experienced severe episodes of migraines, anxieties, erratic heartbeats, muscular pain and weakness, spasms, cramping of muscles, etc. As this is not an over the counter drug, its use needs to be always under the supervision and guidance of a qualified medical practitioner. Those who have missed a dose of levalbuterol must not take two doses at the same time; instead, skip the missed dose and go ahead with the next dose. A dual dose of this drug can result in toxicity and increased levels of drowsiness / dizziness.

In sum, levalbuterol is as bronchodilator used for the decongestion of lungs and airways. Use of other bronchodilators like albuterol along with levalbuterol can result in an overdose. Hence, share all details about existing medication plans prior to starting to use this med. Those who are pregnant or those who are nursing a baby are advised to stay away from using this bronchodilator. In order to have more details about precautions needed for the safe use of levalbuterol, consult with your caregiving team and / or pharmacist.

Leave a Reply