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Proventil is the most commonly prescribed asthma inhaler in this country. Although this medicine is also available in tablet form for oral use, the aerosol formulation is less likely to cause general side effects and is more frequently prescribed.

Proventil Inhaler is prescribed for the prevention as well as the treatment of asthma attacks. It may also be used 15 minutes before vigorous activity to prevent exercise-induced asthma.

Side Effects and Interactions

One advantage of inhaled asthma medicine is that relatively little is absorbed into the body to cause unpleasant side effects. However, inhaled Proventil can cause palpitations or rapid heart beat in some people.

Individuals with preexisting heart conditions, diabetes, seizures, or over an active thyroid gland should use such medicine with great caution, if at all.

Other side effects include nausea, tremor, nervousness, increased blood pressure, heartburn and dizziness.

There are rare reports of rash, itching, and allergic reactions that interfere with breathing.

In addition, the active ingredient in Proventil can precipitate angina, insomnia, headache, unusual taste and irritation of the throat. Report any symptoms to your physician promptly.

Proventil can interact with several other medications. Do not use a similar kind of bronchodilating inhalers such as Ventolin, Berotec, Brethaire, Alupent, Metaprel or Tornalate simulatneously with Proventil.

Certain antidepressants may also be dangerous in combination with this asthma drug, and beta blocker medications may counteract the effectiveness of Proventil.

Check with your pharmacist and physician before using any other medication in combination with this inhaler.

Special Precautions

Although Proventil is very effective, care must be taken not to overuse it.

Because of a relatively short duration of action — 4 to 6 hrs — people may tempted to use their inhaler too frequently. This could lead to complications.

Taking the Medicine

Proventil Inhaler needs to be kept at room temperature — that is, between 59 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. If the aerosol is used at a different temperature, it may not provide an accurate dose.

Use of inhalers is not as easy as it may seem. Make sure your physician provides detailed instructions and demonstrates how to inhale the aerosol so that the medicine ends up in the lungs and not in the back of the throat.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.”.
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