VENTOLIN HFA (Page 2 of 7)

Adults and Adolescents 12 Years of Age and Older

The two 12-week, randomized, double-blind studies in 610 adolescent and adult patients with asthma that compared VENTOLIN HFA, a CFC 11/12-propelled albuterol inhaler, and an HFA-134a placebo inhaler. Overall, the incidence and nature of the adverse reactions reported for VENTOLIN HFA and a CFC 11/12-propelled albuterol inhaler were comparable. Table 1 lists the incidence of all adverse reactions (whether considered by the investigator to be related or unrelated to drug) from these studies that occurred at a rate of 3% or greater in the group treated with VENTOLIN HFA and more frequently in the group treated with VENTOLIN HFA than in the HFA-134a placebo inhaler group.

Table 1. Overall Adverse Reactions With ≥3% Incidence in 2 Large 12-Week Clinical Trials in Adolescents and Adults*
Adverse Reaction Percent of Patients


(n = 202)

CFC 11/12-Propelled

Albuterol Inhaler

(n = 207)

Placebo HFA-134a

(n = 201)

Ear, nose, and throat
Throat irritation 10 6 7
Upper respiratory inflammation 5 5 2
Lower respiratory
Viral respiratory infections 7 4 4
Cough 5 2 2
Musculoskeletal pain 5 5 4
* This table includes all adverse reactions (whether considered by the investigator to be drug-related or unrelated to drug) that occurred at an incidence rate of at least 3.0% in the group treated with VENTOLIN HFA and more frequently in the group treated with VENTOLIN HFA than in the HFA-134a placebo inhaler group.

Adverse reactions reported by less than 3% of the adolescent and adult patients receiving VENTOLIN HFA and by a greater proportion of patients receiving VENTOLIN HFA than receiving HFA-134a placebo inhaler and that have the potential to be related to VENTOLIN HFA include diarrhea, laryngitis, oropharyngeal edema, cough, lung disorders, tachycardia, and extrasystoles. Palpitation and dizziness have also been observed with VENTOLIN HFA.

Pediatric Patients

Results from the 2-week pediatric clinical study in patients with asthma 4 to 11 years of age showed that this pediatric population had an adverse reaction profile similar to that of the adolescent and adult populations.

Three studies have been conducted to evaluate the safety and efficacy of VENTOLIN HFA in patients between birth and 4 years of age. The results of these studies did not establish the efficacy of VENTOLIN HFA in this age-group [see Pediatric Use (8.4)]. Since the efficacy of VENTOLIN HFA has not been demonstrated in children between birth and 48 months of age, the safety of VENTOLIN HFA in this age-group cannot be established. However, the safety profile observed in the pediatric population under 4 years of age was comparable to that observed in the older pediatric patients and in adolescents and adults. Where adverse reaction incidence rates were greater in patients under 4 years of age compared with older patients, the higher incidence rates were noted in all treatment arms, including placebo. These adverse reactions included upper respiratory tract infection, nasopharyngitis, pyrexia, and tachycardia.

6.2 Postmarketing Experience

In addition to the adverse reactions listed in section 6.1, the following adverse reactions have been identified during postapproval use of VENTOLIN HFA. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.

Cases of paradoxical bronchospasm, hoarseness, arrhythmias (including atrial fibrillation, supraventricular tachycardia), and hypersensitivity reactions (including urticaria, angioedema, rash) have been reported after the use of VENTOLIN HFA.

In addition, albuterol, like other sympathomimetic agents, can cause adverse reactions such as hypokalemia, hypertension, peripheral vasodilatation, angina, tremor, central nervous system stimulation, hyperactivity, sleeplessness, headache, muscle cramps, and drying or irritation of the oropharynx.


Other short-acting sympathomimetic aerosol bronchodilators should not be used concomitantly with albuterol. If additional adrenergic drugs are to be administered by any route, they should be used with caution to avoid deleterious cardiovascular effects.

7.1 Beta-Blockers

Beta-adrenergic receptor blocking agents not only block the pulmonary effect of beta-agonists, such as VENTOLIN HFA, but may produce severe bronchospasm in patients with asthma. Therefore, patients with asthma should not normally be treated with beta-blockers. However, under certain circumstances, e.g., as prophylaxis after myocardial infarction, there may be no acceptable alternatives to the use of beta-adrenergic blocking agents in patients with asthma. In this setting, cardioselective beta-blockers should be considered, although they should be administered with caution.

7.2 Diuretics

The ECG changes and/or hypokalemia that may result from the administration of nonpotassium-sparing diuretics (such as loop or thiazide diuretics) can be acutely worsened by beta-agonists, especially when the recommended dose of the beta-agonist is exceeded. Although the clinical relevance of these effects is not known, caution is advised in the coadministration of beta-agonists with nonpotassium-sparing diuretics. Consider monitoring potassium levels.

7.3 Digoxin

Mean decreases of 16% to 22% in serum digoxin levels were demonstrated after single-dose intravenous and oral administration of albuterol, respectively, to normal volunteers who had received digoxin for 10 days. The clinical relevance of these findings for patients with obstructive airway disease who are receiving inhaled albuterol and digoxin on a chronic basis is unclear. Nevertheless, it would be prudent to carefully evaluate the serum digoxin levels in patients who are currently receiving digoxin and albuterol.

7.4 Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors or Tricyclic Antidepressants

VENTOLIN HFA should be administered with extreme caution to patients being treated with monoamine oxidase inhibitors or tricyclic antidepressants, or within 2 weeks of discontinuation of such agents, because the action of albuterol on the vascular system may be potentiated. Consider alternative therapy in patients taking MAOs or tricyclic antidepressants.

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