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Generic Name:

terbutaline, Injectable solution

All Brands

  • Brethine (Discontinued)
A discontinued drug is a drug that has been taken off the market due to safety issues, shortage of raw materials, or low market demand.
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Highlights for terbutaline

Injectable solution
1

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.

2

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.

3

Common side effects include nervousness, headache, and fast heart rate.

4

Terbutaline injection is available as a generic drug.

5

In some cases, this drug can cause serious side effects. These include changes in your heart rate and blood pressure, and seizures.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

FDA warning

This drug has a black box warning. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A black box warning alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

Not for stopping premature labor (tocolysis) warning. This medication shouldn’t be used to slow down or stop premature labor in pregnant women. It could cause serious side effects, such as high heart rate, low potassium levels, and heart problems in pregnant women. It may even be fatal. It can also cause a fast heartbeat and low blood sugar in unborn babies.

Heart problems

Terbutaline injection can cause changes to your heart rate and blood pressure. If you have a heart issue, talk to you doctor before you receive this drug.

Seizures

In rare cases, terbutaline injection may cause seizures. If you have a seizure disorder, talk to you doctor before you receive this drug.

Worsening of asthma

If your dose of terbutaline doesn’t improve your breathing as much as it used to, it may mean that your asthma isn’t controlled. Your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs, such as corticosteroids.

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.

More Details

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 works by relaxing the muscles in your airway passages (bronchial tubes) in your lungs. This opens up your breathing airways, which makes it easier for you to breathe.

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terbutaline Side Effects

Injectable solution

Most Common Side Effects

Some of the more common side effects that can occur with use of terbutaline injection include:

  • nervousness

  • headache

  • feeling like your heart is pounding or racing

  • tremors

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
Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

Terbutaline injection may cause an allergic reaction and worsening of airway narrowing right after it’s given.

Terbutaline injection may cause drowsiness.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
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terbutaline May Interact with Other Medications

Injectable solution

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.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.
Terbutaline warnings
heart problems
People with heart problems

Terbutaline injection can cause changes to your heart rate and blood pressure. If you have a heart issue, talk to you doctor before starting terbutaline.

diabetes
People with diabetes

Large doses of terbutaline injection may cause high blood sugar levels.

Pregnant women
Pregnant women

Terbutaline injection is a category C pregnancy drug. That means two things:

  1. Research in animals has shown adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. There haven’t been enough studies done in humans to be certain how the drug might affect the fetus.

Talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant. This drug should be used only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

Women who are breast-feeding
Women who are breast-feeding

Terbutaline injection passes into breast milk and may cause side effects in a child who is breastfed.

Talk to your doctor if you breastfeed your baby. You may need to decide whether to stop breastfeeding or stop taking this medication.

For seniors
For seniors

Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause levels of this drug to be higher than normal in your body. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dose.

children
For children

This medicine hasn’t been studied in children and shouldn’t be used in children under the age of 12 years.

When to call the doctor
When to call the doctor

Call your doctor if you have trouble breathing or symptoms of your condition worsen.

allergies
Allergies

Terbutaline injection may cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:

  • trouble breathing
  • swelling of your throat or tongue

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal (cause death).

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How to Take terbutaline (Dosage)

Injectable solution

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. 

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

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:

  • seizures 
  • chest pain
  • too high or too low blood pressure
  • fast heart rate
  • headache

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.

How long does it take?

It only takes a minute to receive your terbutaline injection. If your symptoms don’t improve, your doctor may give you another dose 15–30 minutes later. Depending on how you respond to the injection, your appointment could take an hour or more.

Can I drive home after?

This drug may make you feel dizzy or sleepy. You may need someone to drive you home after you receive your injection.

Clinical monitoring

While you’re on terbutaline, your doctor may check the following:

  • heart function, if you’re having side effects
  • potassium levels, if you’re having side effects
  • lung (pulmonary) function
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How Much Does terbutaline Cost?

Injectable solution

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Lowest price for terbutaline

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Walgreens $12.35
Membership warehouse $12.63
These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for terbutaline on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

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These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for terbutaline on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

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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 August 27, 2015

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
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