Generic and Trade Names:
Albuterol Proventil, Ventolin Epinephrine Adrenalin Isoetharine Dey-Lute Isoproterenol Isuprel Metaproterenol Alupent, Metaprel Pirbuterol Maxair Salmeterol Serevent Terbutaline Brethaire, Brethine
Sympathomimetics (adrenergics) form a class of drugs which mimic the autonomic nervous system.
Sympathomimetic drugs are used primarily for bronchodilation. They relieve bronchospasm by relaxing the smooth muscles of the bronchioles. They are used in the treatment of asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema. Some of these drugs also have other uses, for example as vasopressors and in the treatment of glaucoma. Isoproterenol is an example of a sympathomimetic, it dilates constricted bronchial tubes, stimulates the heart muscle, and dilates blood vessels. (Facts and Comparisons 1999)
Can cause hyperglycemia (Smith 1992). Limit sugar and monitor diabetics (see under diabetes).
Electrolytes should be maintained (especially potassium) (Pronsky 1999).
Albuterol may affect vitamin B6 absorption (Martinez 1996).
Avoid caffeine. (Pronsky 1999)
Ephedra (Ma Huang) has approval status by the German Commission E regarding its sympathomimetic action. However, this action may be potentiated if taken in combination with MAO inhibitors. (Blumenthal 1998)
An extensive list of herbs with sympathomimetic action has been compiled by Newall:
Aniseed (Anise), Anethole
Arnica Betaines, choline
Mistletoe, Histamine release
Pleurisy Root, Sympathomimetic
St. John's Wort
Bolinger AM, Young KYL, Gambertoglio JG et al: Influence of food on the absorption of albuterol Repetabs. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1989; 83:123-126.
Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.
Facts and Comparisons, Clinisphere 2.0, Wolters Kluwer Company, 1999.
Martinez de Haas MG, Poels PJ, de Weert CJ, et al. Subnormal vitamin B6 levels in theophylline users. Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd 1997;141:2176-79 [in Dutch].
Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-care Professionals. London: The Pharmaceutical Press, 1996.
Osol, Arthur. 1980. Remington's Pharmaceutical Sciences. Mack Publishing Company, Pennsylvania.
Product Information: Ventolin(R), albuterol. Allen & Hanburys, Division of Glaxo, Research Triangle Park, NC, 1996.
Pronsky, Zaneta. Food Medication Interactions. 11th edition. 1999.
Smith AP, Banks J, Cheong, B, Gunawardena: Mechanisms of abnormal glucose metabolism during the treatment of acute severe asthma. Quart J Med. 1992; NS82:71-80.
Warren JB, Dalton N & Turner C: Effect of a 2 week course of oral salbutamol on adrenomedullary function in normal subjects. Br J Clin Pharmacol 1983; 15:67-70.
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