Brethine

(Terbutaline)

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Makes it easier to breathe.

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Our bottom line

Brethine (Terbutaline) is effective at preventing asthma attacks, but isn’t the first choice. It’s generally well-tolerated, but let your doctor know if you feel more lightheaded or have a rapid heartbeat while taking this medicine.

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Quick facts about Terbutaline
  • Drug class: Respiratory
  • Rx status: Prescription only
  • Generic status: Lower-cost generic available (terbutaline)

Upsides

  • Brethine (Terbutaline) is effective at preventing and reversing constriction in the airways due to asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema.
  • Available in a generic form.
  • Good choice for asthma if you find it hard to use inhalers properly.
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Downsides

  • Only lasts about six hours.
  • Can raise your blood sugars. If you have diabetes, check your sugars regularly and let your doctor know if they’re higher than usual.
  • Takes about 30 to 45 minutes to start working, so it won’t help an asthma attack once it starts.
How it works

Brethine (Terbutaline) is a bronchodilator. It relaxes the muscles in your lungs to open airways and make breathing easier.

Quick facts about Terbutaline
  • Drug class: Respiratory
  • Rx status: Prescription only
  • Generic status: Lower-cost generic available (terbutaline)

Dosage forms

  • Pill
Tried Terbutaline? Write a review!

Prices and coupons

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Side effect rates for Brethine (Terbutaline)

From 199 clinical trials of Terbutaline when taken for bronchospasm with asthma
  • Nervousness
    35%35%
  • Tremor
    15%15%
  • Headache
    8%8%
  • Somnolence
    6%6%
  • Palpitations
    5%5%
  • Dizziness
    4%4%
  • Tachycardia
    4%4%
  • Nausea
    3%3%
  • Insomnia
    2%2%
  • Extrasystoles ventricular
    2%2%
  • Dry Mouth
    2%2%
  • Asthenia
    2%2%
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
70%
80%
Where we got our data »

The placebo bar shows how common a side effect was for people taking a sugar pill instead of Terbutaline.

Brethine (Terbutaline)
Placebo

People taking Terbutaline felt side effect more

People taking Terbutaline felt side effect less

No difference

Risks and Warnings for Brethine (Terbutaline)

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  • Even though Brethine (Terbutaline) is used to treat asthma, sometimes it can actually make peoples’ airways more cramped, so it’s harder to breathe. If you're feeling short of breath and it's not going away, seek medical attention immediately.

Means that some groups have a high risk of experiencing this side effect

Pharmacist Q&A

Brethine (Terbutaline) questions for

Frequently Asked Questions

This medication prevents and reverses bronchospasms.

Who is this drug for?

This medication prevents and reverses bronchospasms.

Common concerns from people taking Brethine (Terbutaline)

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Pregnancy

Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

Tip: Always talk with your doctor before you take any medication while pregnant.
FDA pregnancy category for Terbutaline
CWeigh risks vs. benefits