Short-Acting Beta Agonists Drug Class

Short-Acting Beta Agonists are types of medications used for the fast, or ‘rescue’, treatment of asthma. They essentially work by giving tightened and restricted airways messages to relax and open up again, helping breathing to become easier. Most of these types of medications will be given in the form of inhalation, although some can be used in pill, tablet, and intravenous formulations (but these typically have more associated side effects). The term short-acting refers to both how quickly these types of medications take to work as well as how long they will remain effective. Typically, users will obtain relief from their asthma symptoms within about three to five minutes. The medication will also usually last for about four to six hours.

Short-Acting Beta Agonists Drugs

There are a number of different types of short-acting Beta Agonists. Some of these include:

Short-Acting Beta Agonists Uses

The primary use of short-acting Beta Agonists is for the temporary relief of an asthma attack or uncomfortable breathing symptoms. In fact, anytime a patient feels out of breath, they may find it helpful to consider such inhaled medication.

Asthma patients also may already recognize particular situations in which they are more likely to have an attack or experience the onset of shortness of breath or other types of respiratory discomfort. Some of these situations may be exercising, showering, or going out in the cold. For this type of relief, it is strongly advised for patients to keep their inhalers close at hand.

Short-Acting Beta Agonists Side Effects

Due to the way in which these Beta Agonists work, they primarily affect the airway muscles. However, they can also have some side effects on other muscles and muscle groups. Some of these may cause side effect, like:

  • Irregular heart beating, especially rapid beating of the heart and palpitations (fluttering)
  • Cramping and shakiness in the hands, legs, and feet
  • Increased anxiety, oftentimes caused by the previously listed side effects
  • Worsening breathlessness

There may also be additional side effects, depending on the particular medication and person. Side effects may last for a few minutes to a few days. In many cases, they are caused by too much medicine coating the mouth; avoid this by rinsing out your mouth after taking the medicine, to keep it from being absorbed rather than inhaled. Side effects may also be reduced by taking less medicine.

Anytime you experience side effects, consult with your doctor or healthcare provider. This is the best way to have your medication and dosage levels properly adjusted.

Short-Acting Beta Agonists Interactions

There may be some significant interactions with short-acting Beta Agonists. A number of antidepressants, thyroid drugs, and other bronchodilators can cause your medication to not work properly. Also beta-blockers, which are used to treat heart disease and issues, can decrease the effects of these asthma medications. When taking these short-acting Beta Agonists they can also interfere with drugs that reduce blood pressure, treat congestive heart failure, and also rapid heartbeat.