Discharge Instructions: Taking Bronchodilators

Your healthcare provider prescribed a bronchodilator for you. Bronchodilators are medicines that help open the bronchial tubes (airways) of the 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 relieve breathing problems associated with asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and other lung diseases.


The name of my bronchodilator is ____________________________________________.

Guidelines for use

Recommendations include the following:

  • 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, and it can help you determine whether you need medical treatment.

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

  • Get a flu shot every year.

  • Get pneumonia shots. 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 to your healthcare provider if you are taking a lot of your medicine. Overuse of bronchodilators 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

  • Restlessness

  • Trembling

  • Bad taste in your mouth

  • Coughing

  • Dizziness

  • Lightheadedness

  • Drowsiness

  • Headache

  • Sweating

  • Diarrhea

  • Trouble sleeping

  • Weakness

  • A fever of 100.4°F (38.0°C) or higher

  • Trouble breathing


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