Highlights for terbutaline
Terbutaline is used to prevent and treat tightening of the airways (bronchoconstriction) in people with asthma or other lung diseases. It’s given to people 12 years and older.
This drug comes in the form of a tablet and an injection. Your doctor will give you the injection at their office or clinic. You won’t give yourself this injection at home.
Common side effects include nervousness, headache, and fast heart rate.
Terbutaline injection is available as a generic drug.
In some cases, this drug can cause serious side effects. These include changes in your heart rate and blood pressure, and seizures.
What is terbutaline?
Terbutaline is a prescription drug. It’s available in these forms: oral tablets and solution for injection, which is only given by a healthcare provider.
Terbutaline injection may be used as part of a combination therapy. This means you may need to take it with other medications.
Why it's used
Terbutaline injection is used for preventing and reversing narrowing of the airways in your lungs (bronchoconstriction). This condition can cause wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath.
This drug is given to you by your doctor as an injection.
How it works
Terbutaline injection belongs to a class of drugs called beta-adrenergic agonists. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.
terbutaline Side Effects
Most Common Side Effects
Some of the more common side effects that can occur with use of terbutaline injection include:
feeling like your heart is pounding or racing
If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Serious Side Effects
Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 9-1-1 if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:
seizures. Symptoms may include:
- loss of consciousness or awareness
- muscle stiffness
- jerking movements
Terbutaline injection may cause an allergic reaction and worsening of airway narrowing right after it’s given.
Terbutaline injection may cause drowsiness.
terbutaline May Interact with Other Medications
Terbutaline injection can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well.
To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
How to Take terbutaline (Dosage)
Your doctor will determine a dosage that’s right for you based on your individual needs. Your general health may affect your dosage. Tell your doctor about all health conditions you have before your healthcare provider administers the drug to you.
Terbutaline injection is given under the skin on your upper arm.
Terbutaline injection comes with risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.
If you stop taking the drug suddenly or don’t take it at all
If you don’t take terbutaline at all or stop taking it suddenly, your asthma may get worse. This could lead to serious breathing problems.
If you miss doses or don’t take the drug on schedule
If you don’t take terbutaline on schedule, your asthma may not stay controlled. You may have more frequent episodes of breathing problems.
If you take too much
You could have dangerous levels of the drug. You may have the following symptoms:
- chest pain
- too high or too low blood pressure
- fast heart rate
Tell your doctor if you think you’ve received too much terbutaline or if you have any of these symptoms.
What to do if you miss a dose
If you miss an appointment, call your doctor to reschedule as soon as you remember.
How to tell if the drug is working
You’ll be able to tell that terbutaline is working if your breathing becomes easier.
Terbutaline injection is a short-term drug treatment.
- Terbutaline sulfate – terbutaline sulfate injection. (2010, January). Retrieved from http://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=4ae8fb3d-9df3-4948-bb07-6e4169521f15
Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group
Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on January 31, 2017