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Terbutaline is a medication that belongs to a class of drugs known as beta-2 adrenergic agonists.

Last Modified: 07 May 2024

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What is Terbutaline? 

Terbutaline is a medication that belongs to a class of drugs known as beta-2 adrenergic agonists. Its primary component is terbutaline sulfate, which works by relaxing muscles in the airways to improve breathing. 

The drug's structure is specifically designed to target the beta-2 adrenergic receptors in the smooth muscle of the bronchi in the lungs. Terbutaline is synthesized in a laboratory setting and has the chemical formula C_12H_19NO_3. 


Global Name

Generic name:  Terbutaline
Brand names: Brethine, Bricanyl, Terbulin  


What is Terbutaline used for? 

Terbutaline is used to prevent and treat symptoms caused by asthma (including acute exacerbations), bronchitis, emphysema, and other breathing disorders. It is also sometimes used to treat premature labor, although this is considered an off-label use. 

How do you use Terbutaline? 


Terbutaline is available in tablet form, as an inhaler, and as an injectable solution. 

Dosage information:

  • Adults and Children 12 years and older: Typically 5 mg taken orally three times a day. 
  • Children 6-11 years: Dosage must be determined by a doctor. 
  • Elderlies: May require a lower dose due to increased sensitivity and multiple medication. 


  • Children: Suitable for children 6 years and older; not recommended for younger children. 
  • Adults: Yes, following the recommended dosage. 
  • Elderlies: Yes, with potential dosage adjustments. 

Is there anyone who can’t take Terbutaline? 

  • Children: Not recommended for children below 6 years. 
  • Adults: Those with hypersensitivity to terbutaline or similar drugs. 
  • Elderlies: Those with certain medical conditions may need to avoid it. 
  • Pregnancy: Use only if clearly needed and the benefits outweigh the risks. 
  • Lactation: Caution is advised as it can be excreted in breast milk. 
  • Allergies: Individuals allergic to terbutaline sulfate or other beta-2 agonists should not take this medication. 

Any warnings and precautions : 

Use caution in patients with cardiovascular disorders, diabetes, and hyperthyroidism. Terbutaline can be taken with or without food. 

Drug Interactions: 

Terbutaline should not be used with beta-blockers such as anti-hypertensive medicines like metoprolol & propranolol. Caution is advised with MAO inhibitors and tricyclic antidepressants.

Side Effects

Common side effects can include tremors, nervousness, headache, sweating, and increased heart rate. Severe reactions can involve chest pain, palpitations, and seizures. 

Pharmacist Tips

  • Storage information: Store at controlled room temperature, away from light and moisture. 
  • Handling instructions: For inhalers, ensure proper technique for maximum benefit. 


Where is Terbutaline available in Hong Kong?

Terbutaline is a prescription medication that can be prescribed by healthcare providers then bought in pharmacies.



How quickly does Terbutaline work? 

When inhaled, Terbutaline starts to work within minutes to relieve asthma symptoms. 

Is Terbutaline safe during pregnancy?  

Terbutaline should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus. 

Can you use Terbutaline for chronic bronchitis? 

Yes, it can be prescribed to relieve bronchospasms associated with bronchitis. 

How should Terbutaline be stored?  

Store in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and moisture. 

This website provides content related to drug use and medicine for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Do not use the information on this website to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting a qualified healthcare provider. The website's owners and contributors are not liable for any repercussions, adverse effects, or consequences resulting from the use of any medication or information provided herein.

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