Terbutaline and Albuterol

Terbutaline and albuterol are relatively selective p2-adrenoceptor agonists. Both have a longer duration of action than isoproterenol because they are not metabolized by COMT. Like isoproterenol, they are not metabolized by MAO and are not transported into adren-ergic neurons. Terbutaline and albuterol are effectively administered either orally or subcutaneously. Because of their selectivity for p2-adrenoceptors, they produce less cardiac stimulation than does isoproterenol but are not completely without effects on the heart.

Therapeutically, terbutaline and albuterol are used to treat bronchial asthma and bronchospasm associated with bronchitis and emphysema (see Chapter 39).

Side effects include nervousness, tremor, tachycardia, palpitations, headache, nausea, vomiting, and sweating. The frequency of appearance of these adverse effects is minimized, however, when the drugs are given by inhalation.

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