SALBUTAMOL metered dose inhaler

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    Last updated: June 2023


    Prescription under medical supervision


    Therapeutic action

    • Short-acting beta-2 agonist bronchodilator


    • Symptomatic treatment of asthma attack 

    Forms and strengths

    • Solution or suspension for inhalation in pressurised metered dose inhaler, delivering 100 micrograms of salbutamol/puff

    Dosage and duration

    Asthma attack

    • Child and adult: 2 to 10 puffs (200 to 1000 micrograms) every 20 minutes for the first hour


    • If the attack is completely resolved: 2 to 4 puffs (200 to 400 micrograms) every 4 to 6 hours for 24 to 48 hours 
    • If the attack is not completely resolved: 2 to 10 puffs (200 to 1000 micrograms) every 1 to 4 hours until symptoms subside then 2 to 4 puffs (200 to 400 micrograms) every 4 to 6 hours for 24 to 48 hours 


    Chronic asthma (when symptomatic only)

    • Child and adult: 2 to 4 puffs (200 to 400 micrograms) up to 4 times daily if necessary

    Administration technique

    • Shake the inhaler. Remove the mouthpiece cover.
    • Breathe in and breathe out as completely as possible. Place the lips tightly around the mouthpiece. Inhale deeply while activating the inhaler. Hold breath 10 seconds before exhaling.
    • Hand-breath co-ordination is very difficult in children under 6 years, older patients and patients with severe dyspnoea. Use a spacer to facilitate administration and improve the efficacy of treatment.

    Contra-indications, adverse effects, precautions

    • May cause: headache, tremor and tachycardia, hyperglycaemia; hypokalaemia (after high doses).
    • Pregnancy: no contra-indication
    • Breast-feeding: no contra-indication


    • In severe asthma attack, preferably administer salbutamol by nebulisation, in combination with ipratropium. Use salbutamol metered dose inhaler only if nebuliser solution is not available.
    • Salbutamol is also used for other conditions associated with bronchoconstriction (e.g. chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, some severe respiratory infections). 
    • Clean the mouthpiece before and after each use.
    • Do not pierce or incinerate used aerosol containers (risk of explosion).


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