Albuterol & Nursing: Implications & Considerations

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  • 0:03 Albuterol
  • 1:06 Considerations
  • 1:33 Nursing Implications
  • 2:30 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Justine Fritzel

Justine has been a Registered Nurse for 10 years and has a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing degree.

Albuterol is a medication that is used to help with breathing problems such as asthma and COPD. In this lesson, we will learn about albuterol use and considerations to be aware of when taking it.


Albuterol is a medication that's used to help with problems such as shortness of breath caused by constricted airways. It's a medication frequently used for asthma and COPD. It works by opening up the airways to improve airflow.

Albuterol is classified as a bronchodilator. The bronchus in the lung may become narrowed, referred to as bronchoconstriction, for various reasons. The use of albuterol dilates, or opens up, the bronchus, allowing improved airflow. It's available for use in oral form, inhalers, and a solution for nebulization.

Billy is a 15-year-old boy with asthma. He has dealt with asthma for as long as he can remember and is knowledgeable about managing his condition with his albuterol inhaler. He's been told his asthma is fairly mild. He generally does ok and doesn't routinely need his inhaler. He does notice when he exercises or if he gets ill, he has a harder time taking deep breaths and has audible wheezing. These are the times he uses his albuterol inhaler, which provides quick relief to resume normal breathing again.


As with any medication, albuterol has side effects to be aware of. Most commonly, it makes a person feel anxious, jittery, and he or she may feel his or her heart racing. This is a normal response that occurs after taking a dose. Albuterol is not to be used for patients that have a known hypersensitivity to adrenergic amines. If a person has heart disease, hypertension, hypothyroidism, or a seizure disorder, use of this drug is cautioned.

Nursing Implications

Nursing assessment should include listening to lung sounds, obtaining blood pressure, and heart rate prior to use and during use of albuterol. If a patient has a productive cough, it's important to assess amount, color, and consistency of sputum. It's also important to assess for paradoxical bronchospasm, which is the opposite of the intended reaction of albuterol. Instead of relieving bronchoconstriction, it increases it, which results in increased wheezing and difficulty breathing. Nursing assessment should also include effectiveness of treatment.

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