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Drugs

Side Effects

Serious

This drug may become ineffective if used too often, resulting in more-severe breathing difficulty that does not improve. Signs include persistent wheezing, coughing, or shortness of breath; confusion; bluish color to lips or fingernails; inability to speak. Other side effects include chest pain or heaviness; irregular, racing, fluttering, or pounding heartbeat; lightheadedness; fainting; severe weakness; severe headache.
Common

Changes in blood pressure causing headache, blurred vision, weakness.
Less Common

Nervousness, throat irritation, nausea.

Bitolterol Mesylate


Drug Class:
Bronchodilator/sympathomimetic

Available OTC?: No

Available Generic?: No

Available In
Why Prescribed
How It Works
Range and Frequency
Onset of Effect
Duration of Action
Dietary Advice
Storage
Missed Dose
Stopping the Drug
Prolonged Use
Over 60
Driving and Hazardous Work
Alcohol
Pregnancy
Breast Feeding
Infants and Children
Special Concerns
Overdose Symptoms
What to Do
Drug Interactions
Food Interactions
Disease Interactions


Available In
Aerosol inhaler

Why Prescribed
Bitolterol is used to dilate air passages in the lungs that have become narrowed as a result of disease or inflammation. It is used in the treatment of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

How It Works
Bitolterol widens constricted airways in the lungs by relaxing the smooth muscles that surround the bronchial passages.

Range and Frequency
To treat bronchial asthma and bronchospasm; use it when needed to relieve breathing difficulty: 1 or 2 inhalations at an interval of 1 to 3 minutes, with a third inhalation 2 to 3 minutes later if needed. To prevent bronchospasm: Usually 2 inhalations every 8 hours, with a maximum dose of 2 inhalations every 4 hours or 3 inhalations every 6 hours; actual dosage and administration schedule must be determined by a doctor for each patient. Specific written directions from your doctor should be followed carefully. Rinse your mouth after each dose. Rinse and dry inhaler after each use.

Onset of Effect
Within 5 minutes.

Duration of Action
From 5 to 8 hours.

Dietary Advice
Excessive intake of coffee or other caffeine-containing beverages should be avoided.

Storage
Store in a tightly sealed container away from heat and direct light.

Missed Dose
Skip the missed dose and resume your regular dosage schedule. Do not double the next dose.

Stopping the Drug
It may not be necessary to finish the recommended course of therapy. Consult your doctor.

Prolonged Use
Therapy may require months or years. Excessive use may result in temporary loss of effectiveness.

Over 60
Adverse reactions may be more likely and more severe in older patients.

Driving and Hazardous Work
Be cautious about driving or doing hazardous work until you determine if excessive nervousness or dizziness occurs.

Alcohol
No special precautions are necessary.

Pregnancy
Adequate studies have not been done; the benefits must be weighed against potential risks. Consult your doctor for specific advice.

Breast Feeding
Bitolterol can pass into breast milk; breast feeding should be avoided while taking bitolterol.

Infants and Children
Safety and effectiveness of bitolterol for children under the age of 12 have not been established.

Special Concerns
Call your doctor if you cannot breathe properly 1 hour after using bitolterol or if your breathing problem worsens. Do not let the spray from the inhaler get in your eyes. Discontinue use and contact your doctor if you notice an unusual smell or taste when using this product. Use of this medicine is a disqualification for piloting an aircraft.

Overdose Symptoms
Tremor, nausea, vomiting, rapid or irregular pulse.

What to Do
Call your doctor immediately.

Drug Interactions
Use of MAO inhibitors may cause an excessive increase in blood pressure and heart stimulation. If you are also using a steroid inhaler, take bitolterol first and then wait about 15 minutes before using the steroid inhaler. This allows bitolterol to open air passages, increasing the effectiveness of the steroid.

Food Interactions
Excessive intake of coffee or other caffeine-containing beverages should be avoided.

Disease Interactions
Before taking bitolterol, consult your doctor if you have a circulatory disorder, heart disease, diabetes mellitus, epilepsy, or an overactive thyroid.

Date Published: 04/13/2005
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