Albuterol: Pharmacokinetics & Mechanism of Action

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  • 0:04 Albuterol
  • 0:42 Pharmacokinetics
  • 1:15 Mechanism of Action
  • 2:29 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 an effective medication often used for asthma and COPD. In this lesson, we will learn about the pharmacokinetics of albuterol as well as its mechanism of action.


In diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a person experiences bronchoconstriction. This is when the bronchus, or airways, in the lungs become narrowed, making it difficult to breathe in enough air. Bronchoconstriction causes wheezing and shortness of breath.

Albuterol is a medication that works to open up the airways affected by bronchoconstriction, therefore relieving the wheezing and shortness of breath. It is therefore classified as a bronchodilator. Albuterol can be used as a fast-acting rescue medication that provides relief quickly.

Now that you have a basic understanding of what albuterol is for, let's look closer into the pharmacokinetics of albuterol.


Pharmacokinetics is the study of how a drug moves within the body. It identifies how it is absorbed, distributed, metabolized, and even how it leaves the body.

Albuterol is available in oral and inhaled forms. Half-life refers to the length of time for half of the medication to be out of your system. The half-life of albuterol is 6 hours. Albuterol is metabolized in the gastrointestinal tract (GI) by the enzyme SULTIA3. It is excreted from the body primarily through the kidneys.

Let's learn more about how albuterol actually works on the cellular level.

Mechanism of Action

Mechanism of action refers to how a drug works to give the intended effect. Albuterol works by relaxing the smooth muscle of all the airways. It is a functional antagonist that relaxes the airway regardless of the cause of bronchoconstriction.

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