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Terbutaline (By mouth)

Terbutaline (ter-BUE-ta-leen)

Treats asthma, bronchitis, and other lung disorders.

Brand Name(s):

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to terbutaline or any related medicine (such as epinephrine, Proventil®, or Ventolin®). You should not use this medicine if you are pregnant.

How to Use This Medicine:


  • Your doctor will tell you how much medicine to use. Do not use more than directed.
  • It is very important for you to take this medicine on a regular schedule. This may include waking up during the night to take the medicine. Make sure you understand how often you will need to take the medicine.
  • You may take this medicine with or without food.

If a dose is missed:

  • Take the missed dose as soon as possible unless you are more than 1 hour late.
  • If you are more than 1 hour late, skip the missed dose and return to your usual schedule.
  • You should not use two doses at the same time.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine:

  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are also taking a heart or blood pressure medicine or medicine to treat depression.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Using this medicine to prevent or treat preterm labor can harm pregnant women. This medicine may increase risk of heart problems and other serious side effects when given to a pregnant woman for a long time. Use an effective form of birth control to keep from getting pregnant. If you think you have become pregnant while using the medicine, tell your doctor right away.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are breastfeeding, or if you have diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, or a thyroid disorder.
  • If you are being treated for a lung disorder and this medicine does not help your breathing or if your condition gets worse while you are using it, call your doctor.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Nausea and vomiting that doesn't go away.
  • Pale or blue skin.
  • Severe dizziness or drowsiness.
  • Severe headache or tremors.
  • Severe muscle cramps and weakness.

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Loss of appetite or change in taste.
  • Mild dizziness or drowsiness.
  • Pain or difficulty going to the bathroom (urinating).
  • Restlessness or nervousness.
  • Trouble sleeping.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Last Updated: 5/1/2020

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