Pharm 3

Pharm 3
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  • The medication you are using for asthma is albuterol. This is a bronchodilator, which means it opens up your airway to allow you to breathe easier. Have you been using your inhaler?
  • Well, I use it every night, but it doesn't seem to help my breathing, especially during football. I start wheezing pretty bad. What should I do?
  • Hmm I think I see the problem. Albuterol acts quickly, so it should be used before exercise to prevent an asthma attack. So, Eric, use your inhaler 15 minutes before a football game or practice. Try not to take it at night, it can cause insomnia. 
  • Okay, we'll do that!
  • One more thing: Eric, are you taking any other medications?
  • Well, albuterol can react with some medications, such as certain antidepressants, so we would want to know if you were taking any of those. Since albuterol can cause a fast heart beat, let us know if you have any chest, jaw, or arm pain. Also, try to avoid caffeine. 
  • No, he is not taking those medicines. And we will keep the rest in mind. Thank you, nurse!
  • Ummm...just vitamins. Why?
  • 13 year-old Eric is in the clinic today due to difficulty breathing during exercise. He was diagnosed with asthma 3 months ago and his mom is concerned he is not using his inhaler correctly. The nurse decides to explain the action of the medication first.  Albuterol works by activating the beta 2 adrenergic receptors to relieve bronchospasm.
  • The nurse notices Eric seems to be using his inhaler incorrectly. She uses this time to educate Eric on the short-acting effects of albuterol, since it can be used short-term to prevent an exercise-induced asthma episode. The nurse mentions a side effect of albuterol: insomnia. Other side effects include restlessness, hyperglycemia, tachycardia, and chest pain. 
  • The nurse remembers to ask about drug interactions, since albuterol can increase the risk for tachycardia and angina when combined with MAOIs and tricyclic antidepressants. Since albuterol can cause tachycardia and angina, she tells Eric and his mom what to watch out for. If there were any drug interactions with daily vitamins, the nurse could provide education on this. 
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