Taking Bronchodilators

Bronchodilators are medicines that help open the airways (bronchial tubes) of your lungs. This lets more air flow through them. Bronchodilators work by relaxing the smooth muscles that line the airways. This makes the airways open wider and allows air to leave the lungs. These medicines also are used to ease breathing problems caused by asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and other lung diseases.


Your healthcare provider prescribed a bronchodilator for you. The name of your bronchodilator is ____________________________________________.

Guidelines for use

Follow these guidelines for using a bronchodilator:

  • Follow the fact sheet that came with your medicine. It tells you when and how to take your medicine. Ask for a sheet if you didn’t get one.

  • Tell your healthcare provider about any other medicines you are taking, including over-the-counter or herbal medicines.

  • Take your medicine exactly as directed.

  • Don’t take a higher dose of this medicine than prescribed. This can lead to serious side effects and even death.

  • Break the smoking habit. Enroll in a stop-smoking program to improve your chances of success.

  • Don’t allow smoking in your home or around you.

  • Learn to use a peak flow meter. This device helps you check how well your condition is controlled. It can help you know whether you need medical treatment.

  • Lower indoor humidity in your home to less than 50%. Dehumidifiers or air conditioners can help you do this.

  • Get a flu shot every year.

  • Get a pneumonia shot. Talk with your healthcare provider about which shots are right for you.

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a scarf on cold or windy days.

  • Talk with your healthcare provider if you are taking a lot of your medicine. Using too much of the medicine could mean that your asthma isn’t being controlled properly. Your healthcare provider will help find the prescription that is right for you.

Possible side effects

Tell your healthcare provider if you have any of these side effects. Don’t stop taking the medicine until your healthcare provider tells you to. Mild side effects include:

  • Anxiety

  • Trouble sleeping

  • Nausea

  • Diarrhea

  • Headaches 


When to call your healthcare provider

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following:

  • Nervousness or restlessness

  • Trembling

  • Bad taste in your mouth

  • Coughing

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness

  • Drowsiness

  • Headache

  • Sweating

  • Diarrhea

  • Trouble sleeping

  • Weakness

  • A fever of 100.4°F (38.0°C) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider

  • Trouble breathing