How does it work?
This medicine contains the active ingredient salbutamol, which is a type of medicine known as a short-acting beta 2 agonist. It works by acting on receptors in the lungs called beta 2 receptors. Stimulation of these receptors causes the muscles in the airways to relax, allowing the airways to open.
In conditions where there is narrowing of the airways, such as asthma, emphysema and bronchitis, it is difficult for air to get in and out of the lungs. By opening the airways, salbutamol makes it easier to breathe.
Salbutamol is most commonly taken using an inhaler device. Inhaling the medicine allows it to act directly in the lungs where it is needed most. It also reduces the potential for side effects occurring in other parts of the body, as the amount absorbed into the blood through the lungs is lower than if it is taken by mouth.
Salbutamol when used as an inhaler is known as a reliever. This is because it works very quickly to relieve asthma attacks or shortness of breath. Salbutamol inhalers can also be used to open the airways shortly before exercising.
Salbutamol tablets are sometimes prescribed if inhaled salbutamol is being used frequently to relieve shortness of breath. The tablets are taken regularly to help keep the airways open all the time and reduce the need for the inhaler.
What is it used for?
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
If this medicine fails to provide up to 3 hours relief from shortness of breath, seek medical advice.
Inhalers may cause an unexpected increase in wheezing (paradoxical bronchospasm) straight after using them. If this happens, stop using the inhaler immediately and consult your doctor. The medicine should be stopped and an alternative treatment found.
Blood potassium levels should be monitored in people with severe asthma, as low oxygen levels in the blood (hypoxia) and various asthma medicines, including this one, can lower blood potassium.
Use with caution in
High blood pressure (hypertension)
Irregular heart beats (arrhythmias)
Not to be used in
Known sensitivity or allergy to any ingredient
This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to one or any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy.
If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Certain medicines should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, other medicines may be safely used in pregnancy or breastfeeding providing the benefits to the mother outweigh the risks to the unborn baby. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, before using any medicine.
This medicine should be used with caution during pregnancy, and only if the expected benefit to the mother is greater than any possible risk to the foetus. Seek medical advice from your doctor.
This medicine passes into breast milk in small amounts. The effect of this on the breastfed baby is unknown, therefore this medicine should be used with caution in breastfeeding mothers. Discuss with your doctor.
This medication is to be swallowed whole, not chewed.
Medicines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with this medicine. Because a side effect is stated here, it does not mean that all people using this medicine will experience that or any side effect.
Faster than normal heart beat (tachycardia)
Unexpected narrowing of the airways (paradoxical bronchospasm)
Low blood potassium level (hypokalaemia)
Shaking, usually of the hands (tremor)
Anxiety and restlessness
Awareness of your heart beat (heart palpitations)
The side effects listed above may not include all of the side effects reported by the drug's manufacturer.
For more information about any other possible risks associated with this medicine, please read the information provided with the medicine or consult your doctor or pharmacist.
How can this medicine affect other medicines?
This medicine should not be taken with beta-blockers, such as atenolol, propranolol or timolol. This is because beta-blockers have an opposite action to this medicine and cause the airways to narrow. This can result in breathing difficulties for people with asthma or chronic obstructive airways disease.
Salbutamol can potentially cause a serious decrease in the levels of potassium in the blood (hypokalaemia), which may result in adverse effects. This effect can be increased by the following medicines:-
- xanthine derivates, such as theophylline
- corticosteroids, such as beclometasone and prednisolone
- diuretics, such as bendrofluazide and frusemide
- other beta 2 agonists, such as salmeterol.
* Keep your tablets in a safe place WHERE CHILDREN CANNOT REACH
* Store the tablets at room temperature below 30°C (86°F).
* Keep your tablets in the foil pack until you need to take them.
* Do not use after the date shown as ‘EXP’ on the carton and on the foil.
* If you are told to stop taking this medicine RETURN ANY UNUSED
TABLETS TO YOUR PHARMACIST to be destroyed.
LEAFLET PREPARED MARCH 2001
REMEMBER: This medicine is for YOU. Only a doctor can prescribe it for you.
Never give it to someone else. It may harm them even if their symptoms are
This leaflet does not tell you everything about your medicine. If you have any
questions or are not sure about anything, ask your doctor or the pharmacist.
You will be able to find out more information about prescribed medicines
from books in public libraries.
The information in this leaflet only applies to Volmax Tablets.
Volmax is a trademark of the Glaxo Wellcome Group of Companies.
© 2001 Glaxo Wellcome Group of Companies.