Salbutamol

Table of contents
Medically reviewed by
Dr Daniel Atkinson
GP Clinical Lead
on August 02, 2022.
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Why are there different doses of Salbutamol?

There are a variety of salbutamol medications used to treat asthma. The different doses and methods of administration allow doctors and healthcare professionals to target asthma symptoms through different routes and in different strengths, depending on the severity of the condition. 

If you have asthma you’ll likely be prescribed salbutamol in its inhaler form – for example as Ventolin or Airomir.

The usual dose of salbutamol is 100-200 micrograms whenever you have symptoms. Your doctor will provide details of your exact dosage usually in your asthma action plan.

What doses of Salbutamol puffers are there?

Salbutamol puffers, such as Ventolin and Airomir, are used to relieve asthma symptoms. They should be used as and when needed.

One puff usually provides a dose of 100mcg of salbutamol, although the Ventolin Accuhaler is available in a 200mcg dosage.

The usual directions for adults using a salbutamol inhaler is one or two puffs to be taken as needed, up to four times within 24 hours. However, this can depend on the inhaler being used and the directions from your doctor.

It’s important to use the correct inhaler technique for your inhaler so that your lungs receive the optimum amount of active ingredient. Your inhaler technique should be reviewed every so often to check it’s as good as it can be.

Because Salbutamol puffers are a reliever treatment, they need to be with you at all times in case you need to put them into action. Your specific dosage and maximum daily dose should be included in your bespoke asthma action plan. If you exceed your max dose then you need to let your doctor know, as this can be a sign of poorly managed asthma.

Are there different nebuliser doses for Salbutamol?

Salbutamol nebuliser solution is usually used in a hospital setting. Adults can be prescribed a dose of 2.5mg to 5mg up to four times per day as required. However, up to 40mg can be given under strict medical supervision.

What tablet dosages are there for Salbutamol?

Salbutamol tablets can be a treatment option for some people with asthma but usually under specific circumstances. Some patients might find that tablets are easier to take than the salbutamol inhaler but some studies have suggested they don’t work as well.

This method of treatment can cause side effects such as indigestion, palpitations or tremors,[popover id=ref3] but your doctor should review your condition regularly and help with issues like these.

The average dose for adults is 4mg to be taken three to four times a day. If you don’t experience any relief at this dosage then the dose might need to be gradually increased up to 8mg. It’s also possible for some patients to find that their symptoms are controlled with a 2mg dose taken three or four times daily. Elderly asthmatics may be more sensitive to medication, so they usually start with 2mg three or four times per day.

The dosage for children can depend on their age, however, it isn’t recommended for children under 2 years old to take oral salbutamol.

  • Children between 2 and 6 years old should take 1 – 2mg three to four times a day.
  • Children between 6 and 12 years old should take 2 mg
  • Children over 12 years old can take 2 – 4 mg.

Does Salbutamol syrup come in different dosages?

Salbutamol syrup is a less common asthma treatment. It tends to be prescribed to those who are unable to use an inhaler device but isn’t thought to be as effective.

The average dose for an adult is 4mg, to be taken as two 5 ml spoonfuls three or four times per day. This can be increased to 8mg, to be taken as four 5 ml spoonfuls three or four times per day.

Elderly patients will usually start with 2mg to be taken as one 5 ml spoonful three or four times per day.

When it comes to children, much like Salbutamol tablets, the Salbutamol syrup dosage can vary depending on the child’s age:

  • Children between 2 and 6 years old usually start with 1mg as a 2.5 ml spoonful, three times per day.
  • Children between 6 and 12 years old usually start at 2 mg as a 5 ml spoonful three times per day.
  • Children over 12 years old can start at 2mg as 5 ml spoonful three times per day. This can be increased to 4 mg.

What is the maximum daily dose of Salbutamol?

The maximum Salbutamol dose will depend on your condition and age and also the type of Salbutamol medication that you’re taking.

The maximum for adults using a Salbutamol inhaler is usually 2 puffs six times daily but this can sometimes be increased for severe symptoms. For the tablet the maximum dose is up to 8 mg per day. The maximum Salbutamol tablet dose for children under 12 years old is 4 mg per day.

The maximum Salbutamol syrup dose for adults is also 8 mg, and for children, their dose can be increased to 4 mg.

Can you overdose on Salbutamol?

Although there are guideline minimum and maximum doses of salbutamol, you should always follow your doctor’s instructions. If you have concerns about your medication or dosage then you need to discuss this with your doctor before making any alterations.

Whilst salbutamol overdose is rare it can happen and it’s important to look out for the signs so that you can seek the appropriate medical assistance.

Symptoms of an overdose can include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Decrease in urine output
  • Problems with vision
  • Burning sensation in the throat
  • High blood pressure
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Fever or chills
  • Tremors or convulsions
  • Change in mood
  • Change in skin colour
  • Nausea or vomiting

If you think you may have taken too much Salbutamol seek immediate medical assistance.

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This page was medically reviewed by Dr Daniel Atkinson, GP Clinical Lead on August 02, 2022. Next review due on August 01, 2024.

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