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Albuterol vs. Salbutamol — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Updated on December 22, 2023
Albuterol and Salbutamol are essentially the same medication, a bronchodilator used to treat breathing disorders. "Albuterol" is the name commonly used in the United States, while "Salbutamol" is used in other countries.
Albuterol vs. Salbutamol — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Albuterol and Salbutamol


Key Differences

Albuterol is the name primarily used in the United States for this bronchodilator. Salbutamol is the international nonproprietary name (INN) and is used in other countries.
Both Albuterol and Salbutamol have the same chemical composition and molecular structure. They are both short-acting β2-adrenergic receptor agonists (SABAs).
Albuterol/Salbutamol is used for treating asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and other breathing disorders. It works by relaxing the muscles in the airways and increasing air flow to the lungs.
Both are available in various forms such as inhalers, nebulizers, tablets, and liquid solutions. They are often used for quick relief of asthma symptoms or prevention of exercise-induced bronchospasm.
In the U.S., Albuterol is sold under brand names like ProAir, Ventolin, and Proventil. Salbutamol is available under similar brand names in other countries, and also as generics.

Comparison Chart

Name Usage

Common in the U.S.
Common outside the U.S.

Chemical Composition

Identical to Salbutamol
Identical to Albuterol

Medical Uses

Asthma, COPD treatment
Asthma, COPD treatment


Inhalers, tablets, nebulizers
Inhalers, tablets, nebulizers

Brand Names

ProAir, Ventolin, etc.
Various, including generics

Compare with Definitions


Rescue Inhaler: Albuterol is often used as a quick-relief or rescue inhaler.
She always carried Albuterol as her rescue inhaler for sudden asthma flare-ups.


Asthma Relief: Salbutamol is commonly prescribed for quick relief from asthma.
After using Salbutamol, her breathing eased significantly.


Asthma Treatment: Albuterol is a medication used to treat asthma.
She used her Albuterol inhaler to relieve her asthma symptoms.


Bronchial Smooth Muscle Relaxer: Salbutamol relaxes bronchial smooth muscle.
Salbutamol was effective in relaxing her bronchial muscles during an asthma attack.


Bronchodilator: Albuterol acts as a bronchodilator, opening airways in the lungs.
Albuterol is effective as a bronchodilator during asthma attacks.


Breathing Disorders: Salbutamol treats various breathing disorders besides asthma.
Salbutamol is also prescribed for conditions like bronchitis and emphysema.


COPD Management: Albuterol is used to manage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
His COPD symptoms were managed with regular doses of Albuterol.


Emergency Inhaler: Salbutamol is used in emergency situations for rapid symptom relief.
In case of an asthma attack, use your Salbutamol inhaler immediately.


Preventing Bronchospasm: Albuterol helps prevent exercise-induced bronchospasm.
He took Albuterol before his run to prevent bronchospasm.


Muscle Relaxant: Salbutamol works by relaxing muscles in the airways.
Salbutamol's muscle relaxant properties help improve airflow.


A beta-adrenergic drug, C13H21NO3, used in the form of its sulfate as a bronchodilator primarily to treat asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Also called salbutamol.


Salbutamol, also known as albuterol and sold under the brand name Ventolin among others, is a medication that opens up the medium and large airways in the lungs. It is a short-acting β2 adrenergic receptor agonist which works by causing relaxation of airway smooth muscle.


(pharmaceutical drug) salbutamol.


See albuterol.


A bronchodilator (trade names Ventolin or Proventil) used for asthma and emphysema and other lung conditions; available in oral or inhalant forms; side effects are tachycardia and shakiness


(pharmaceutical drug) A synthetic beta-agonist bronchodilator related to aspirin, administered in the form of its sulfate (C13H21NO3)2·H2SO4 as an inhalational aerosol or as a tablet to treat bronchospasm associated especially with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It is marketed under the trademarks Combivent, Proventil and Ventolin.

Common Curiosities

Are Albuterol and Salbutamol the same?

Yes, they are the same medication with different names in different regions.

Is Salbutamol safe for children?

Yes, under medical supervision and appropriate dosing.

How quickly does Salbutamol work?

It usually begins working within minutes.

Can Albuterol be used daily?

It's typically used as needed for quick relief, but follow your doctor's advice.

Is a prescription needed for Albuterol?

Yes, Albuterol is available by prescription.

Can Albuterol treat long-term asthma?

Albuterol is more for immediate relief; long-term treatments may require additional medications.

Are there side effects to Albuterol?

Common side effects can include nervousness, shaking, or a fast heartbeat.

Can Albuterol help with coughing?

It can help if the cough is due to asthma or COPD.

Can Albuterol be used with other asthma medications?

Yes, but only under medical guidance.

Can Salbutamol prevent asthma attacks?

It can prevent exercise-induced bronchospasm, but not all types of asthma attacks.

Is Salbutamol available as a pill?

It's mainly available as an inhaler, but tablet forms exist.

How long does the effect of Salbutamol last?

The effects typically last 4 to 6 hours.

Can Albuterol be overused?

Overuse can lead to decreased effectiveness and increased side effects.

Are there alternatives to Salbutamol?

There are other bronchodilators, but Salbutamol is one of the most common.

Should Salbutamol be used for mild asthma?

It's effective for quick relief, regardless of asthma severity.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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