Home > Allergy Center > Asthma > Quick Relief Asthma Medications
Medications for Quick Relief of Asthma Attack: Ventolin and Xopenex

Bad news – you have asthma. Only in the Unites States there are millions of people suffering from this disease. Good news is that you can control your symptoms and with qualified doctor and your proper attitude – you can live your pretty normal life. But for that you need your specially adapted plan of every day long-term treatment and rescue medicine just in case always with you.

You and your doctor is the best team to deal with the constant threat and stress connected with this state. Choosing the right option among thousand of medications available on the market is the fist and the most essential step to controlling your asthma. Except only the importance of knowing the substance you are allergic to and the possible avoidance of it. 

You need to follow you long-term plan in order to prevent asthma attacks and control chronic symptoms of the disease. This is the essential part of asthma treatment. But it is strongly advisable that you have your plan B in your bag or purse. These are medications for short relief, those that will give you immediate relief during the asthma attack. As a rule, they are taken at the point you suspect you are having the attack and provide the effect within few minutes.

What you know as an alphabet when you are having an attack:

  • Take your short-term control medication immediately (your doctor should also proscribe it for you in case of unsuspected attack).
  • Try to calm down and keep on sitting (do not lie or walk).
  • Do not exceed the dosage of medication. After you take the first one – wait and see, the symptoms in most cases will disappear.
  • When you need to take your long-term control medication according to your plan – do it. Rescue medications in any case do not replace long-term drugs.
  • Tell your doctor about the incident. Try to remember the trigger of the attack and discuss it with your doctor.

Among most commonly used rescue medications are short-acting beta-agonists. They are bronchodilators, start working very quickly (unlike LABAs - long-acting beta-2 agonists) by the relaxing of tightened muscles around your airways. By this your airways can open up and you can finally get more oxygen into your lungs (or better said, out of your lungs). These drugs are very effective and fast. Work ordinary approximately 4 hours. The only thing, they do not guarantee that symptoms won’t come back in these 4 hours. So, better stay alert (still calm and relaxed).

Bronchodilators that act on all beta-adrenergic receptors of the body (such as epinephrine) give the result along with some harmful side effects. Rapid heartbeat, muscle tremors and headaches are only few of them. Albuterol, unlike epinephrine, are bronchodilators that act mainly on beta2-adrenergic receptors. These receptors are found mainly on cells in the lungs, so the effect on other organs is lesser and so are side effects. Ventolin and Xopenex are the most frequently used albuterol short-acting beta-agonist medication. These drugs have much in common, but let’s see the table.

What kind
of drug it is

Ventolin is a sympathomimetic (beta agonist) albuterol bronchodilator

Xopenex is a bronchodilator

Both drugs relax the smooth muscle in your airways, thus allowing the air comes in and out of your lungs easier.

They are used for treating reversible obstructive airway conditions (for example asthma, bronchitis, etc.)

“Not to use”
You may not be able to use the medication in case you have the following:

·  an allergy to any of drugs (you should tell your doctor to which medication you are allergic);

· you have (or had) heart disease, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure or any kind of heart failure (disorder);

·   epilepsy or some other disorders of this kind;

·  you have diabetes;

·  your thyroid is overactive;

In rare cases you doctor may adjust the dosage to your case (besides the fact you have some of the above mentioned) but under his (or her) supervision.

You won’t be proscribed with these drugs if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Ventolin, as well as Xopenex may be harmful for your baby (both born and unborn).

Xopenex is not used for children under age of 6.

for usage

With drugs it is important to use it as it was proscribed. Follow your proscribed dose and the time you use it.


· You buy the Ventolin after discussing all the benefits and risks with your doctor

· Make 4 to 5 test sprays into the air (far from your face) to make sure it will provide you the right amount of medicine when needed. Do it every time you are not using it for more that 2 weeks

· Shake it well every time you use it

· While using it - breathe out fully (but slowly) and immediately close your lips. Hold your breath for few seconds and repeat if needed (if your doctor told you so)

·  If you need one more time – shake the inhaler again. Wait for a minute and repeat the same simple procedure

· Don’t let your inhaler fall, keep it dry and clean.

·  Clean your inhaler at it is advised in the list instructions

·  Make sure you have another Ventolin prescription before you run out of the one you have

It is very important to use the drug as it is proscribed by your doctor: do not exceed the dose and the time of taking.

You may use a steroid inhaler as a rescue medicine as well, but it is better first to open up your airways with Xopenex medicine (with the help of nebulizer device).

Nebulizer device

· Make sure you understand how to use the nebulizer and use it properly

· Take the right dose of Ventolin or Xopenex medicine (for each medicine its own nebulizer!) and place it into the nebulizer’s drug chamber.  

· Take the face mask and apply it to your face (fully to your mouth and nose). Attach the chamber with medicine to the compressor, turn it on and start to breathe slowly while sitting

· Breathe until you have your drug chamber empty. It will eventually take you 10 minutes to inhale all the medicine

· Clean your nebulizer right after you use it and keep it clean. See how to do it in the list instructions to your nebulizer device

Store Ventolin and Xopenex at room temperature away from heat and light.

Side effects

You may experience the following side effects while using Ventolin:

· Headache

· Dizziness

· Dry mouth and throat

· Tremor

· Stomach upset

· Muscle pain

· Cough or runny (stuffy) nose

More serious side effects are less likely to appear, but in case you experience any of these – call your doctor:

· Chest pain

· Irregular ( especially very fast) heartbeats

·  Wheezing or any other troubles in breathing

·  Nervousness

·  Headache

·  Blurred vision or buzzing in your ears

·  Allergic reactions (as swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat)

·  Some other side effects

When using Xopenex the following side effects may be observed:

·  Dizziness

·  Nervousness and anxiety

·  Headache

·  Cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose

·  Diarrhea

·   Muscle cramps

In some cases more serious side effects may occur:

·  Some allergic reaction (like swelling of your face and other parts of your body)

·  Shortness of breath and other troubles in breathing

· Chest pain

· Irregular heartbeats

· Some other side effects

If you notice these symptoms – stop using the medication and call your doctor.


Ventolin and Xopenex may be extremely helpful rescue medications. You should always have the drug with you any time at any place. That’s why don’t forget that these drugs require special conditions to be stored in: don’t put your purse or bag with the medication on window-sill on a hot sunny day or don’t keep it in your car on these days. Make sure your inhaler is ok after it incidentally falls on the flour or any other situations. And keep avoiding the situations that may worse your condition.

Valentyna Ant.

Related Articles
Price Search
Allegra 60 Pills $34.85
Found at Generic Doctor

Zyrtec 90 Pills $33.74
Found at Generic Doctor

Clarinex 60 Pills $25
Found at Generic Doctor

Elocon 2 Creams $29
Found at Generic Doctor

Singulair 30 Pills $30
Found at Generic Doctor

Try our Quizzes
Quiz Asthma Treatment Options Quiz
When it comes to asthma, we should keep in mind that it is a chronic or lifelong disease. It means that asthma medications will play the key role in helping a patient lead his normal life by ...

Asthma Quiz General Issues
Asthma affects many millions of people nowadays. The bad news is that the cure for this health disorder is still not discovered. However, the good news is that asthma symptoms can be quite ...
Read more in Allergy Quizzes
Take a Poll
How would you rate the severity of your asthma?