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What do fast-acting bronchodilators (or "rescue" or "quick relief" medications) do, and how are they supplied?

These medicines do the following things:

  • Quickly relax muscles that tighten around the airways, making the airways wider and breathing easier.
  • Help clear mucus from the lungs-as the airways open, the mucus can move more freely and can be coughed out more easily.
  • Relieve acute shortness of breath .

The products are available in several forms:

  • Metered dose inhaler
  • Rotahaler inhalation device
  • Nebulizer solution
  • Tablets
  • Liquid

What fast-acting bronchodilators are used to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease?

There are several fast-acting bronchodilators for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). These include:

  • Albuterol (Ventolin®, Proventil®, Airet®)
  • Albuterol sulfate (ProAir HFA®)
  • Levalbuterol (Xopenex®)
  • Metaproterenol sulfate (Alupent®, Arm-a-Med®, Metaprel®)
  • Pirbuterol acetate (Maxair®)
  • Terbutaline sulfate (Brethair®, Brethine®, Bricanyl®)
  • Bitolterol mesylate (Tornalate®)