If you’re looking at treatment options for certain types of breathing problems, you may want to learn more about albuterol (ProAir Digihaler, ProAir RespiClick, ProAir HFA, Proventil, Ventolin).
Albuterol is a generic prescription drug that’s used in adults and some children for the following purposes:
- to prevent or treat bronchospasm caused by a kind of reversible obstructive lung disease, such as COPD or asthma
- to prevent or treat bronchospasm that’s triggered by exercise
Albuterol belongs to a group of drugs called bronchodilators. It contains the active ingredient albuterol sulfate. (An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.)
Albuterol comes as an aerosol inhaler, nebulizer solution, oral syrup solution, and tablet that you swallow.
Keep reading for details on albuterol and cost, and how to save money on prescriptions.
Note: For more details on albuterol, see this in-depth article.
The price you pay for albuterol can vary. It may depend on:
- your treatment plan
- the form of albuterol you’re prescribed
- your insurance coverage (if you have insurance)
- the pharmacy you use
If you’re prescribed albuterol solution for use with a nebulizer, you may need to buy the nebulizer separately. Your doctor will likely write you a prescription for this device. And if you’re prescribed albuterol oral syrup, you may need to use a special measuring cup or oral syringe to measure your doses of albuterol. Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about these devices.
To find out how much you’ll pay for albuterol, talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance provider.
Note: If you have insurance, you may need to get prior authorization before your insurance provider will cover albuterol. This means your insurer and your doctor will discuss albuterol in regard to your treatment. Then the insurance company will determine whether the drug is covered. If albuterol requires prior authorization and you don’t receive it before you start treatment, you could pay the full cost of the drug.
Be sure to ask your insurance company whether albuterol requires prior authorization.
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Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about albuterol and cost.
How much does an albuterol inhaler cost without insurance versus with insurance?
The cost of an albuterol inhaler without insurance versus with insurance depends on your insurance plan benefits. It may also depend on the pharmacy you use to fill your prescription.
The cost of an albuterol inhaler without insurance depends on:
- your dosage and treatment plan
- how much you’re prescribed (such as a 30-day supply versus a 90-day supply)
- the pharmacy you choose (prices may vary)
Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about what you can expect to pay for an albuterol inhaler based on your individual treatment plan.
The cost of an albuterol inhaler with insurance depends on your insurance provider and plan, as well as your treatment plan. You may have to meet certain prior authorization requirements before your insurer will cover this drug.
If you have insurance coverage, reach out to your insurance provider to learn more about the cost of an albuterol inhaler.
Is Albuterol’s cost covered by Medicare?
Yes, Medicare typically covers the cost of albuterol. How much you’ll pay depends on your particular Medicare plan benefits.
Your cost for albuterol with Medicare coverage also depends on your treatment plan and the form of albuterol you’re prescribed. Some forms, such as the nebulizer solution, may have added costs since you have to buy a nebulizer device to use with the solution.
Talk with your Medicare provider to find out the cost of albuterol based on your prescription and treatment plan.
If you need help covering the cost of albuterol or understanding your insurance, check out these resources:
On these sites, you can find insurance information, details on drug assistance programs, and links to savings cards and other services.
If you have questions about how to pay for your prescription, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
Albuterol is a generic drug. This means it contains an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. A generic is considered just as safe and effective as the original drug and usually costs less.
Albuterol comes in the brand-name versions ProAir Digihaler, ProAir RespiClick, ProAir HFA, Proventil, and Ventolin. To find out how the cost of these drugs compares with albuterol, talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance provider.
If you’ve been prescribed albuterol and you’re interested in using a brand-name version instead, talk with your doctor. They may prefer that you take one version instead of another. You’ll also need to check with your insurance provider since it may only cover one drug or another.
Why is there such a cost difference between brand-name drugs and generics?
Years of research and testing are needed to ensure that brand-name drugs are safe and effective. This testing can make the drugs expensive. The manufacturer of a brand-name drug can sell the drug for up to 20 years. After that, other drugmakers can create generic versions. This competition in the market can lead to lower costs for generics. And because generics have the same active ingredients as brand-name drugs, they don’t need to be studied again. This can also lead to lower generic costs.
If you take albuterol long term, you may be able to lower your costs in the following ways:
Look into getting a 90-day supply of your medication. You may be able to get a 90-day supply of albuterol if approved by your insurance company. This could reduce your number of trips to the pharmacy and help lower the cost of albuterol. If you’re interested in getting a 90-day supply of this drug, talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance provider.
Use a mail-order pharmacy to get your medication. Using a mail-order pharmacy might help lower your cost for albuterol. Plus, you could get your medication without leaving home. Some Medicare plans may help cover the cost of mail-order drugs. You may also be able to get a 90-day supply of the drug through mail order. If you don’t have health insurance, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They may be able to suggest online pharmacy options that could work for you.
If you still have questions about the cost of albuterol, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They may be able to give you a better idea of what you’ll pay for this drug. But if you have health insurance, you’ll need to talk to your insurance provider to learn the actual cost you’d pay for albuterol.
Examples of questions you may want to ask your doctor or insurance provider include:
- Does the cost of albuterol vary based on the dosage form prescribed for me?
- Are there cost differences between the brand-name and generic forms of albuterol?
- Would my daily cost of albuterol be lower with a 90-day supply?
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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 another 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.