VENTOLIN HFA (Page 3 of 5)

8.5 Geriatric Use

Clinical trials of VENTOLIN HFA did not include sufficient numbers of subjects aged 65 years and older to determine whether older subjects respond differently than younger subjects. Other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients. In general, dose selection for an elderly patient should be cautious, usually starting at the low end of the dosing range, reflecting the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function, and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy.


The expected signs and symptoms with overdosage of albuterol are those of excessive beta-adrenergic stimulation and/or occurrence or exaggeration of any of the signs and symptoms of beta-adrenergic stimulation (e.g., seizures, angina, hypertension or hypotension, tachycardia with rates up to 200 beats/min, arrhythmias, nervousness, headache, tremor, muscle cramps, dry mouth, palpitation, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, malaise, insomnia, hyperglycemia, hypokalemia, metabolic acidosis).

As with all inhaled sympathomimetic medicines, cardiac arrest and even death may be associated with an overdose of VENTOLIN HFA Inhalation Aerosol.

Treatment consists of discontinuation of VENTOLIN HFA together with appropriate symptomatic therapy. The judicious use of a cardioselective beta-receptor blocker may be considered, bearing in mind that such medication can produce bronchospasm. There is insufficient evidence to determine if dialysis is beneficial for overdosage of VENTOLIN HFA.


The active component of VENTOLIN HFA is albuterol sulfate, USP, the racemic form of albuterol and a relatively selective beta2 -adrenergic bronchodilator. Albuterol sulfate has the chemical name α1 -[(tert -butylamino)methyl]-4-hydroxy-m -xylene-α, α′-diol sulfate (2:1)(salt) and the following chemical structure:

Chemical structure

Albuterol sulfate is a white crystalline powder with a molecular weight of 576.7, and the empirical formula is (C13 H21 NO3 )2 •H2 SO4 . It is soluble in water and slightly soluble in ethanol.

The World Health Organization recommended name for albuterol base is salbutamol.

VENTOLIN HFA is a blue plastic inhaler with a blue strapcap containing a pressurized metered-dose aerosol canister fitted with a counter. Each canister contains a microcrystalline suspension of albuterol sulfate in propellant HFA-134a (1,1,1,2-tetrafluoroethane). It contains no other excipients.

After priming, each actuation of the inhaler delivers 120 mcg of albuterol sulfate, USP in 75 mg of suspension from the valve and 108 mcg of albuterol sulfate, USP from the mouthpiece (equivalent to 90 mcg of albuterol base from the mouthpiece).

Prime VENTOLIN HFA before using for the first time, when the inhaler has not been used for more than 2 weeks, or when the inhaler has been dropped. To prime VENTOLIN HFA, release 4 sprays into the air away from the face, shaking well before each spray.


12.1 Mechanism of Action

In vitro studies and in vivo pharmacologic studies have demonstrated that albuterol has a preferential effect on beta2 -adrenergic receptors compared with isoproterenol. Although beta2 -adrenoceptors are the predominant adrenergic receptors in bronchial smooth muscle and beta1 -adrenoceptors are the predominant receptors in the heart, there are also beta2 -adrenoceptors in the human heart comprising 10% to 50% of the total beta-adrenoceptors. The precise function of these receptors has not been established, but their presence raises the possibility that even selective beta2 -agonists may have cardiac effects.

Activation of beta2 -adrenergic receptors on airway smooth muscle leads to the activation of adenyl cyclase and to an increase in the intracellular concentration of cyclic-3′,5′-adenosine monophosphate (cyclic AMP). This increase of cyclic AMP leads to the activation of protein kinase A, which inhibits the phosphorylation of myosin and lowers intracellular ionic calcium concentrations, resulting in relaxation. Albuterol relaxes the smooth muscles of all airways, from the trachea to the terminal bronchioles. Albuterol acts as a functional antagonist to relax the airway irrespective of the spasmogen involved, thus protecting against all bronchoconstrictor challenges. Increased cyclic AMP concentrations are also associated with the inhibition of release of mediators from mast cells in the airway.

Albuterol has been shown in most controlled clinical trials to have more effect on the respiratory tract, in the form of bronchial smooth muscle relaxation, than isoproterenol at comparable doses while producing fewer cardiovascular effects. Controlled clinical studies and other clinical experience have shown that inhaled albuterol, like other beta-adrenergic agonist drugs, can produce a significant cardiovascular effect in some patients, as measured by pulse rate, blood pressure, symptoms, and/or electrocardiographic changes [see Warnings and Precautions (5.4)].

12.3 Pharmacokinetics

The systemic levels of albuterol are low after inhalation of recommended doses. A trial conducted in 12 healthy male and female subjects using a higher dose (1,080 mcg of albuterol base) showed that mean peak plasma concentrations of approximately 3 ng/mL occurred after dosing when albuterol was delivered using propellant HFA-134a. The mean time to peak concentrations (Tmax ) was delayed after administration of VENTOLIN HFA (Tmax = 0.42 hours) as compared with CFC-propelled albuterol inhaler (Tmax = 0.17 hours). Apparent terminal plasma half-life of albuterol is approximately 4.6 hours. No further pharmacokinetic trials for VENTOLIN HFA were conducted in neonates, children, or elderly subjects.


13.1 Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility

In a 2-year study in Sprague-Dawley rats, albuterol sulfate caused a dose-related increase in the incidence of benign leiomyomas of the mesovarium at and above dietary doses of 2.0 mg/kg (approximately 14 and 6 times the MRHDID for adults and children, respectively, on a mg/m2 basis). In another study this effect was blocked by the coadministration of propranolol, a non-selective beta-adrenergic antagonist. In an 18-month study in CD-1 mice, albuterol sulfate showed no evidence of tumorigenicity at dietary doses of up to 500 mg/kg (approximately 1,700 and 800 times the MRHDID for adults and children, respectively, on a mg/m2 basis). In a 22-month study in Golden hamsters, albuterol sulfate showed no evidence of tumorigenicity at dietary doses of up to 50 mg/kg (approximately 225 and 110 times the MRHDID for adults and children, respectively, on a mg/m2 basis).

Albuterol sulfate was not mutagenic in the Ames test or a mutation test in yeast. Albuterol sulfate was not clastogenic in a human peripheral lymphocyte assay or in an AH1 strain mouse micronucleus assay.

Reproduction studies in rats demonstrated no evidence of impaired fertility at oral doses of albuterol sulfate up to 50 mg/kg (approximately 340 times the MRHDID for adults on a mg/m2 basis).

13.2 Animal Toxicology and/or Pharmacology

Preclinical: Intravenous studies in rats with albuterol sulfate have demonstrated that albuterol crosses the blood-brain barrier and reaches brain concentrations amounting to approximately 5.0% of the plasma concentrations. In structures outside the blood-brain barrier (pineal and pituitary glands), albuterol concentrations were found to be 100 times those in the whole brain.

Studies in laboratory animals (minipigs, rodents, and dogs) have demonstrated the occurrence of cardiac arrhythmias and sudden death (with histologic evidence of myocardial necrosis) when beta-agonists and methylxanthines are administered concurrently. The clinical relevance of these findings is unknown.

Propellant HFA-134a: In animals and humans, propellant HFA-134a was found to be rapidly absorbed and rapidly eliminated, with an elimination half-life of 3 to 27 minutes in animals and 5 to 7 minutes in humans. Time to maximum plasma concentration (Tmax ) and mean residence time are both extremely short, leading to a transient appearance of HFA-134a in the blood with no evidence of accumulation.

Propellant HFA-134a is devoid of pharmacological activity except at very high doses in animals (i.e., 380 to 1,300 times the maximum human exposure based on comparisons of area under the plasma concentration versus time curve [AUC] values), primarily producing ataxia, tremors, dyspnea, or salivation. These events are similar to effects produced by the structurally related CFCs, which have been used extensively in metered-dose inhalers.

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