• Generic Name: albuterol sulfate inhalation aerosol
  • Brand Name: Ventolin HFA
  • Drug Class: Beta2 Agonists
Last updated on MDtodate: 10/8/2022


Use of VENTOLIN HFA may be associated with the following:

  • Paradoxical bronchospasm
  • Cardiovascular effects
  • Immediate hypersensitivity reactions
  • Hypokalemia

Clinical Trials Experience

Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared with rates in the clinical trials of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in practice.

The safety data described below reflects exposure to VENTOLIN HFA in 248 subjects treated with VENTOLIN HFA in 3 placebo-controlled clinical trials of 2 to 12 weeks’ duration. The data from adults and adolescents is based upon 2 clinical trials in which 202 subjects with asthma aged 12 years and older were treated with VENTOLIN HFA 2 inhalations 4 times daily for 12 weeks’ duration. The adult/adolescent population was 92 female, 110 male and 163 white, 19 black, 18 Hispanic, 2 other. The data from pediatric subjects are based upon 1 clinical trial in which 46 subjects with asthma aged 4 to 11 years were treated with VENTOLIN HFA 2 inhalations 4 times daily for 2 weeks’ duration. The population was 21 female, 25 male and 25 white, 17 black, 3 Hispanic, 1 other.

Adult and Adolescent Subjects Aged 12 Years and OlderThe two 12-week, randomized, double-blind trials in 610 adult and adolescent subjects with asthma that compared VENTOLIN HFA, a CFC 11/12-propelled albuterol inhaler, and an HFA-134a placebo inhaler. Overall, the incidence and nature of the adverse reactions reported for VENTOLIN HFA and a CFC 11/12-propelled albuterol inhaler were comparable. Table 1 lists the incidence of all adverse reactions (whether considered by the investigator to be related or unrelated to drug) from these trials that occurred at a rate of 3% or greater in the group treated with VENTOLIN HFA and more frequently in the group treated with VENTOLIN HFA than in the HFA-134a placebo inhaler group.

Table 1: Adverse Reactions with VENTOLIN HFA with ≥ 3% Incidence and More Common than Placebo in Adult and Adolescent Subjects

Adverse Reaction Percent of Subjects
(n = 202) %
CFC 11/12-Propelled Albuterol Inhaler
(n = 207) %
Placebo HFA-134a
(n = 201) %
Ear, nose, and throat
  Throat irritation 10 6 7
  Upper respiratory inflammation 5 5 2
Lower respiratory
  Viral respiratory infections 7 4 4
  Cough 5 2 2
  Musculoskeletal pain 5 5 4


Adverse reactions reported by less than 3% of the adult and adolescent subjects receiving VENTOLIN HFA and by a greater proportion of subjects receiving VENTOLIN HFA than receiving HFA-134a placebo inhaler and that have the potential to be related to VENTOLIN HFA include diarrhea, laryngitis, oropharyngeal edema, cough, lung disorders, tachycardia, and extrasystoles. Palpitations and dizziness have also been observed with VENTOLIN HFA.

Pediatric Subjects Aged 4 to 11 YearsResults from the 2-week clinical trial in pediatric subjects with asthma aged 4 to 11 years showed that this pediatric population had an adverse reaction profile similar to that of the adult and adolescent populations.

Three trials have been conducted to evaluate the safety and efficacy of VENTOLIN HFA in subjects between birth and 4 years of age. The results of these trials did not establish the efficacy of VENTOLIN HFA in this age-group . Since the efficacy of VENTOLIN HFA has not been demonstrated in children between birth and 48 months of age, the safety of VENTOLIN HFA in this age-group cannot be established. However, the safety profile observed in the pediatric population younger than 4 years was comparable to that observed in the older pediatric subjects and in adults and adolescents. Where adverse reaction incidence rates were greater in subjects younger than 4 years compared with older subjects, the higher incidence rates were noted in all treatment arms, including placebo. These adverse reactions included upper respiratory tract infection, nasopharyngitis, pyrexia, and tachycardia.

Postmarketing Experience

In addition to adverse reactions reported from clinical trials, the following adverse reactions have been identified during postapproval use of albuterol sulfate. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure. These events have been chosen for inclusion due to either their seriousness, frequency of reporting, or causal connection to albuterol or a combination of these factors.

Cases of paradoxical bronchospasm, hoarseness, arrhythmias (including atrial fibrillation, supraventricular tachycardia), and hypersensitivity reactions (including urticaria, angioedema, rash) have been reported after the use of VENTOLIN HFA.

In addition, albuterol, like other sympathomimetic agents, can cause adverse reactions such as hypokalemia, hypertension, peripheral vasodilatation, angina, tremor, central nervous system stimulation,hyperactivity, sleeplessness, headache, muscle cramps, drying or irritation of the oropharynx, and metabolic acidosis.