Salbutamol Inhalers

Salbutamol Inhalers

Sabutamol (Ventolin) blue reliever inhalers are used to improve symptoms during an asthma attack. Salbutamol works by relaxing the airways in the lungs to make breathing easier and does not contain steroids.

In stock
from £12.99

Product details

Salbutamol inhalers are blue inhalers that are used to relieve asthma symptoms. We can prescribe these generically where the pharmacy can use a variety of generic and branded versions of Salbutamol, including Ventolin, to fulfil prescriptions. Salbutamol helps to relieve asthma straight away by opening up airways and making it easier to breathe.

Dr Louisa Draper

Medically reviewed by

Dr Louisa Draper

Last reviewed: 12 Jul 2021

Salbutamol inhaler prices

Pack Size Price
100 mcg - 1 x 200 dose inhaler(s) £12.99
100 mcg - 2 x 200 dose inhaler(s) £19.00

How it Works

About Salbutamol

What is Salbutamol

Salbutamol is a type of inhaler medication used to open the airways in the lungs to improve airflow and help you breathe more easily. Salbutamol inhalers come as blue inhalers and are commonly called ‘reliever’ inhalers. It belongs to a group of medicines known as ‘bronchodilators’.

Bronchodilators like Salbutamol are used to treat and relieve symptoms of airway conditions like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Some of these symptoms include:

  • feeling breathless
  • wheezing
  • coughing

Salbutamol is the name of the generic medication and is often sold under different brand names. The most common brand of Salbutamol is Ventolin. Where a generic product has been ordered, we may use a range of manufacturers to provide you with your medication, in order to maintain our service levels.

Is Salbutamol a steroid?

Salbutamol is not a steroid medication. It is part of a group of medicines called bronchodilators. There are other inhalers used to treat airway diseases which contain steroids, for example Pulmicort and Qvar.

What’s the difference between Ventolin and Salbutamol inhalers?

Salbutamol is the generic version of Ventolin, so they both contain the same active ingredient, and work in exactly the same way. The only difference between them is the brand name and the price. Salbutamol is a generic medication, so it is available at a lower cost than Ventolin.

How to use a Salbutamol inhaler

It is important to follow your doctor’s instructions about how to use your Salbutamol inhaler.

When should I use my inhaler?

The way you should use your inhaler will depend on how and when you have asthmatic symptoms. It is different for everyone, your doctor will help you to understand when you should use yours.

You should use your inhaler straight away if you start having asthmatic symptoms like wheezing, difficulty breathing, coughing and chest tightness.

Some people use their inhaler if they know they are about to be exposed to their asthma triggers like seasonal pollen, dust or animal hairs. You can also prevent asthma symptoms by using your Salbutamol inhaler before a sport activity, if you have been diagnosed with exercise-induced asthma.

If you need to use your inhaler to prevent symptoms when exposed to triggers like exercise or pollen, use the inhaler about 10 to 15 minutes before the exposure.

How to use your inhaler

Usually, adults take 1 or 2 puffs of Salbutamol at a time to relieve asthma symptoms, up to a maximum of 4 times in 24 hours. If you require more than this dose to relieve your symptoms, speak to your doctor for advice as soon as possible.

You should take the following steps when using your Salbutamol inhaler:

  1. Stand or sit upright.
  2. Remove the mouthpiece cover and make sure it is clean before using it.
  3. Shake the inhaler several times to make sure the liquid is mixed, so you get the right amount of salbutamol with each puff.
  4. Hold the inhaler upright. Your thumb should be at the base of the inhaler, just below the mouthpiece.
  5. Breathe out first, then close your lips around the mouthpiece of the inhaler, making a tight seal with your lips. The mouthpiece should rest between your teeth, but do not bite the mouthpiece.
  6. Start breathing in and press down on the top of the inhaler.
  7. Continue to take a slow and deep breath in as the inhaler releases a puff of medicine, then hold your breath for as long as you can comfortably do so, to allow the medication to get into your airways.
  8. If you have been advised to take two puffs, wait about 30 seconds before repeating the process, to take the second puff.

If you have difficulty with this process, your doctor can give you a ‘spacer’, which is a device that can help you inhale the medication more easily. In fact, a spacer can be useful for everyone as it helps you to inhale the whole dose properly.

Always replace the mouthpiece cover straight after using your inhaler.

If you are using your inhaler for the first time or have not used your inhaler for more than 5 days, you should check it is working first before using it. You can test your inhaler by taking the following steps:

  1. Remove the mouthpiece cover and make sure it is clean before using it
  2. Shake the inhaler well
  3. Point the inhaler away from you
  4. Press the canister to release 1 to 2 puffs into the air

You should see a puff of medicine coming out. If nothing is released, your canister may be empty and will need replacing

How quickly does Salbutamol work?

As long as you use your inhaler correctly, it can start to relieve your symptoms within minutes, sometimes lasting up to 3 to 5 hours.

How to maintain your inhaler

Cleaning your inhaler regularly will prevent blockages when you need to use it. You should clean your inhaler on a weekly basis by taking the following steps:

  1. Take the metal canister from the casing and take the mouthpiece off
  2. Hold the casing under the tap and run warm water through it
  3. Make sure the casing is completely dry before putting the metal canister and mouthpiece on again
  4. Shake the inhaler and spray it into the air once to make sure it works

How often can you take Salbutamol?

To relieve or prevent asthma symptoms, adults usually take 1 or 2 puffs of Salbutamol every 4 to 6 hours. Some people may find that taking 1 puff every 4 to 6 hours is enough to relieve their symptoms.

In general, you can take 2 puffs up to 4 times in a 24 hour period. If you need to take more than this dose, seek urgent medical advice as your asthma is not being controlled by the salbutamol and you could have a severe asthma attack.

How many puffs of Salbutamol is safe?

If you are taking your inhaler more than 4 times in 24 hours, you must call a doctor or visit A&E straight away, as you could have a severe asthma attack.

However, if you are having an acute asthma attack, you can take up to 10 puffs (waiting 30 seconds between each puff). You can repeat this dose 10 minutes later. If you are having an asthma attack, seek emergency medical attention straight away.

How long does a Salbutamol inhaler last?

Each Salbutamol inhaler contains 200 puffs worth of medicine. If you are taking the maximum dose, which is 8 puffs a day, your Salbutamol inhaler should last 25 days. If you are taking it less, it will last longer. You should check the expiry date on the canister.

How do Salbutamol inhalers work?

Salbutamol inhalers contain the active ingredient salbutamol sulphate. It is a type of bronchodilator which works by relaxing the muscles in the airways of your lungs, which helps to open them up. This improves your airflow, making it easier for you to breathe, relieving your asthma symptoms.

Where can I buy a Salbutamol inhaler?

Can I buy Salbutamol inhalers online?

Yes, it is safe and legal to buy Salbutamol inhalers online from UK registered prescribers like Superdrug Online Doctor, if you have been diagnosed with asthma by your GP. You will need to complete a medical assessment with a Superdrug doctor, so they can check your asthma is under control, and that you know how to use your inhaler safely. They will also recommend that you continue to see your regular GP, or asthma nurse, for your check-ups and asthma reviews.

When buying Salbutamol inhalers or other medicines from online prescribers/sellers, it is important to check they are legally registered with the UK governing bodies such as the CQC, General Pharmaceutical Council and MHRA, to avoid buying fake or expired medicines online.

Important: When you order a generic (non-branded) medication, it may arrive in different packaging or under a different name to what’s pictured or what you expect. This is because we order from a variety of different suppliers to make sure you always have your medication available when you need it. The medication you receive will contain the same ingredients and work in exactly the same way.

Can I buy Salbutamol inhalers over the counter?

No, you cannot buy Salbutamol over the counter. Salbutamol is a prescription-only medication, which means you need a prescription before you can get it. This is because you need to be assessed by a healthcare professional before buying Salbutamol to make sure that this medication is safe and appropriate for you to take it.

What are the side effects of Salbutamol?

Some people may have side effects when using Salbutamol but not everyone gets them. You can speak to your doctor or read the patient information leaflet that comes with your inhaler for more advice about Salbutamol side effects and cautions.

Some common Salbutamol side effects may include:

  • Headaches
  • Your heart may beat faster (for a short while but without chest pain)
  • Tremors (feeling shaky)

Some uncommon or rare Salbutamol side effects may include:

  • Throat or mouth irritation
  • Muscle cramps

Very rarely, some people taking Salbutamol may have very serious side effects or an allergic reaction to Salbutamol. These include:

  • Muscle weakness or pain
  • A very bad headache that will not go away
  • A fast heartbeat with chest pain
  • Bronchospasm (narrowing of your airways which may cause chest tightness or difficulty breathing)

You should seek immediate medical attention if you have any of these side effects or symptoms of an allergic reaction to Salbutamol.

Can you overdose on Salbutamol?

You may overdose on Salbutamol if you take too much Salbutamol within a shorter period of time than you have been prescribed to take it.

Some symptoms of Salbutamol overdose may include:

  • a very fast heartbeat with chest pain or tightness
  • nausea
  • feeling dizzy or fainting
  • dry mouth
  • an increase in tremors
  • seizures
  • feeling agitated
  • high blood glucose and low blood potassium

You should seek emergency medical attention if you think you may have overdosed on your Salbutamol inhaler.

Why does Salbutamol cause tachycardia?

Salbutamol may cause a mild increase in your heart rate (tachycardia).

Salbutamol acts as a bronchodilator which works on the muscles of your airways to open them up. Salbutamol also works on the muscle in your heart and blood vessels, and can cause your heart to beat faster, and your blood vessels to open up too.

Tachycardia may feel like your heart is pounding outside your chest, or just a faster heart rate if you feel your pulse. If you use more Salbutamol than prescribed, it may increase your risk of having this side effect for longer. If you have tachycardia that does not go away, seek urgent medical advice.

Can Salbutamol cause thrush?

Inhalers which contain only Salbutamol should not cause side effects of thrush (a fungal infection in the mouth and throat).

If your inhaler contains both salbutamol and a steroid, you may have side effects of thrush infection. This is because steroids can cause an overgrowth of fungi in the mouth like Candida, and cause infection.

When using inhalers which contain steroids, it is important to rinse out your mouth each time you use your inhaler. This helps to reduce the amount of steroid medicine left in your mouth, which can cause an overgrowth of Candida, leading to thrush.

Who shouldn’t use Salbutamol?

Salbutamol may not be suitable for people with certain medical conditions.

Tell your doctor before using Salbutamol inhalers if you have:

  • an overactive thyroid or any thyroid problems
  • irregular heartbeat or any heart problems
  • diabetes
  • high blood pressure
  • allergies in relation to salbutamol sulphate

You should also tell your doctor before taking Salbutamol, if you are taking :

  • medicines to treat irregular heartbeat and high blood pressure
  • other medicines to treat asthma (like steroids)

Generally, you should tell your doctor during your consultation about all medicines you are taking including those you bought over the counter, and herbal medicines.

Can I take Salbutamol while pregnant?

Salbutamol is generally safe to take during pregnancy but you should tell your doctor if you are pregnant or planning to be pregnant before using Salbutamol inhalers.

Your doctor will be able to advise you on how to manage asthma during pregnancy.

Can I take Salbutamol while taking antibiotics?

You should be able to take most antibiotics when using your Salbutamol inhaler. But, some antibiotics like erythromycin, clarithromycin, and moxifloxacin, may cause low blood potassium when taken with Salbutamol.

You should tell your doctor before taking Salbutamol if you are also taking other medications including antibiotics.


Asthma (2021) NHS  [accessed 12 May 2021] 

Salbutamol NICE  [accessed 13 May 2021]

Salbutamol Inhaler (2018) NHS  [accessed 12 May 2021] 

Salbutamol Inhaler (2020) Patient Info [accessed 12 May 2021]

Salbutamol Interactions NICE  [accessed 13 May 2021]

Using your Inhalers (2018) Asthma UK  [accessed 12 May 2021]

Patient Reviews