Salbutamol is used to treat cough, wheeze and difficulty breathing caused by respiratory problems, eg, asthma and COPD. It works as a bronchodilator (to open the airways) and is often called a reliever (to relieve breathing problems).
Salbutamol quickly relieves your breathing problems. It starts to work within a few minutes and the effect will last 3 to 5 hours.
Image credit: Relievers Asthma Canada
In Aotearoa New Zealand salbutamol is available as an inhaler and a nebulising solution
- Using salbutamol in an inhaler helps the medicine go straight into your airways when you breathe in. This means that your airways and lungs are treated quickly and very little of the medicine gets into the rest of your body.
- Nebulisers are not so commonly used – they're used when inhalers are not suitable, such as for young children, or very sick people in hospital.
- The information on this page is about salbutamol inhalers. Read more about nebulisers.
Salbutamol inhalers are available in different brands
In Aotearoa New Zealand salbutamol inhalers are available in different brands.
October 2023: Respigen will no longer be available because the factory making Respigen inhalers has closed down.
If you're using a Respigen inhaler, you'll need to switch to a different brand. 2 other brands are available – SalAir and Ventolin.
Now is a great time to check you're getting the most from your inhaler.