Terbutaline Brand names of terbutaline Things you need to tell your physician before taking terbutaline Usage How to use terbutaline How terbutaline works Side effects Possible interactions Storage instructions


Brand names of terbutaline

  • Brethaire
  • Brethine
  • Bricanyl
  • Bricanyl Spacer

Terbutaline belongs to a class of drugs called beta adrenergic receptor agonists and it is used to cure asthma and other ailments of the air passages (bronchial tubes). Some other medications belonging to the same category of drugs comprise pirbuterol (Maxair), albuterol (Proventil), salmeterol (Serevent) and metaproterenol (Alupent).

As most of us are aware, asthma is a problem related to breathing and is a result of the constriction of the air passages or the bronchial tubes by means of which air flows into and out of the lungs. These airways can be constricted owing to the buildup of mucus, muscle spasms that encircle them (a medical condition known as bronchospasm) or distention of the lining of the airways owing to gathering of fluids. Constriction of the air passages in the lungs or bronchial tubes often causes labored breathing, cough and breathless.

The beta adrenergic receptor agonist terbutaline is basically a bronchodilator - a medication that helps to expand the air passages in the lungs. It binds to beta adrenergic receptors on muscles encircling the air passages resulting in the relaxation of the muscles and expanding the air passages or bronchial tubes. When the air passages become wider, they let additional air to flow in and out of the lungs. And, the increased air flow lessens shortness of breath, breathlessness or wheezing and cough. In addition, terbutaline is also prescribed to pregnant women for delaying untimely labor by unwinding the muscles of the uterus that are in control of forcing out the fetus during delivery. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the sale and use of terbutaline in 1974.

Things you need to tell your physician before taking terbutaline

Like using any other medication, you ought to adopt a number of precautions before you start using terbutaline to treat you medical condition. Before you start your treatment with terbutaline, it is important to tell your doctor if you have any allergic reactions to this medication or any other drug. In addition, you should also tell your doctor or pharmacist about all the prescription and non-prescription (over-the-counter) drugs as well as vitamins and nutritional supplements you are currently taking. Especially, tell your doctor if you are taking any other medication to treat asthma, depression and heart ailments. Remember to tell your doctor if you are taking phenylephrine, ephedrine and/ or pseudoephedrine. It may be noted that several non-prescription drugs enclose these drugs, for instance, diet pills and medications that are used to treat colds and asthma. Hence, it is important to check the labels to find out if the medications you are using contain any of these drugs.

Before using terbutaline, you must tell your doctor regarding your entire medical conditions. Especially, tell your doctor if you are suffering from or ever suffered from erratic heartbeat, an accelerated heart rate, heart ailment, high blood pressure (hypertension), glaucoma, diabetes, a hyperactive thyroid gland, and/ or seizure. In case people using terbutaline requires undergoing any surgery or dental operation, tell your doctor or dentist that you are using this medication.

Women should tell their doctor if they are pregnant, planning to become pregnant or are breast feeding before they begin to use this medication. In case any woman using terbutaline becomes pregnant, she should immediately call her doctor and seek advice on what actions she should take.


Terbutaline is a bronchodilator and is used to expand the air passages in the lungs (bronchial tubes) that have become constricted due to any ailment or inflammation. Usually, terbutaline is used to treat asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) - a chronic ailment in which breathing becomes slow or troubled.

How to use terbutaline

Terbutaline is available in an inhaler that releases a puff of medicine by design when one inhales. This medication is available with step-by-step elucidated directions for use and can be obtained from your pharmacist. Since terbutaline is an inhaler that is used in a different manner than other inhalers, ensure that you follow all the directions cautiously. In order to load a dose of terbutaline, you should hold the container an erect position, turn the blue grip fully in one direction and subsequently wind it back till it clicks. First exhale, and then place the mouthpiece between your lips and take a deep breath - hold your breath for some time. Remember, when you breathe out, never do so into the inhaler.

In the event of your doctor prescribing more than one inhalation at a time, wait for a minimum of one minute to complete between the inhalations. Following the use of the inhaler, wash your mouth with a view to help avoid dryness and ease throat irritation. After using the inhaler, clean the mouthpiece with a clean dry cloth or dry tissue. Remember, you should never use water to clean the mouthpiece. Also remember to use this medication only as directed. It is advisable not to increase your dose or use the medication more often than what has been prescribed by your doctor. Extreme or unnecessary use of the medication may result in the loss of efficacy and, at the same time, increase the risks of side effects of using terbutaline. Never discontinue using this medication without consulting your doctor. Contact your doctor right away if you notice that you are using the medication in excess of normal, or if you find that your symptoms persist or worsen even after using terbutaline.

In case you miss a dose of the medication, ask your physician regarding what action you ought to take. It is advisable never to use a double dose to cover up for the missed dose of terbutaline.

How terbutaline works

Terbutaline is a bronchodilator that works by expanding the contracted airways in the lungs or the bronchial tubes by unwinding the smooth muscles that encircle the bronchial passages. This enables more air to flow into and out of the lungs making breathing easy.

Side effects

Inhaled form: may become ineffective if used too often, resulting in more-severe breathing difficulty that does not improve. Signs include:
  • bluish color to fingernails or lips
  • confusion
  • coughing
  • inability to speak
  • persistent wheezing
  • shortness of breath
Ingested form:
  • chest pain
  • fainting
  • headache
  • heaviness
  • irregular heartbeat
  • lightheadedness
  • severe weakness
Less common

Possible interactions

As with most other drugs, the bronchodilator terbutaline is also known to interact with certain other drugs, including herbal medications and minerals, when taken concurrently. Hence, they ought not to be taken alongside. It has been noticed that using St. John's wort, ma huang (ephedra), and compounds similar to ephedrine or kola while using terbutaline may cause undesirable stimulation of the central nervous system (CNS). In addition, people suffering from asthma should not use fir or pine needle oil. If people have allergic reactions to plants belonging to the Asteraceae family, such as chrysanthemum, aster, daisy or ragweed, they may also have allergic reactions to chamomile, Echinacea, St. John's wort and feverfew. As a portion of the way the herb ginseng works may be like an MAO inhibitor (monoamine oxidase inhibitor), it is advisable not to combine terbutaline with ginseng ever.

People using terbutaline should try keep away from excessive consumption of beverages containing caffeine, such as tea, coffee, chocolate and cola. In addition, such individuals should also exercise caution while exercising and avoid any type of physical exertion. In effect, too much of exercise has the potential to stimulate asthma in some patients.

Storage instructions

Terbutaline should always be stored in the container the medication came in. Once the medication is placed in the container close it tightly and keep it beyond the reach of children and pets. Remember, you should take care to avoid puncturing the container. Store this medication at room temperature and in such a place free from excess heat and moisture. Never store this medication in your bathroom, which is usually damp most of the time.

Discard all medications that become outdated or are no longer needed. Never dispose of the medication by flushing it down the toilet or pouring it in the drain. Similarly, the medication should not be discarded in a kiln or fire. You may consult your pharmacist or the neighbourhood disposal company for safe ways to discard the unwanted medications.

Our products