Ventolin is used to prevent and treat wheezing, shortness of breath, coughing, and chest tightness caused by lung diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD; a group of diseases that affect the lungs and airways). Ventolin inhalation aerosol is also used to prevent breathing difficulties during exercise. Ventolin is in a class of medications called bronchodilators. It works by relaxing and opening air passages to the lungs to make breathing easier.
Ventolin comes as a solution (liquid) to inhale by mouth using a nebulizer (machine that turns medication into a mist that can be inhaled) and as an aerosol to inhale by mouth using an inhaler. When the inhalation aerosol is used to treat or prevent symptoms of lung disease, it is usually used every 4 to 6 hours as needed. When the inhalation aerosol is used to prevent breathing difficulty during exercise, it is usually used 15 to 30 minutes before exercise. The nebulizer solution is usually used three or four times a day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Use ventolin exactly as directed. Do not use more or less of it or use it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Call your doctor if your symptoms worsen or if you feel that ventolin inhalation no longer controls your symptoms. If you were told to use ventolin as needed to treat your symptoms and you find that you need to use the medication more often than usual, call your doctor.
Ventolin controls symptoms of asthma and other lung diseases but does not cure them. Do not stop using ventolin without talking to your doctor.
If you are using the inhaler, your medication will come in canisters. Each canister of ventolin aerosol is designed to provide 200 inhalations. After the labeled number of inhalations has been used, later inhalations may not contain the correct amount of medication. Throw away the canister after you have used the labeled number of inhalations even if it still contains some liquid and continues to release a spray when it is pressed.
Your inhaler may come with an attached counter that keeps track of the number of sprays you have used. If you have this type of inhaler, you should not try to change the numbers or remove the counter from the canister. When the number that shows on the counter is 020, you should call your doctor or pharmacist to refill your prescription. When the number that shows on the counter is 000, you should not use that canister anymore. Throw away the empty canister.
If your inhaler does not come with an attached counter, you will need to keep track of the number of inhalations you have used. You can divide the number of inhalations in your inhaler by the number of inhalations you use each day to find out how many days your inhaler will last. Do not float the canister in water to see if it still contains medication.