Which medications in the drug class Inhaled Beta Agonist are used in the treatment of Bronchiectasis?

Updated: Sep 15, 2020
  • Author: Ethan E Emmons, MD; Chief Editor: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP  more...
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Inhaled Beta Agonist

Although no long-term studies have been performed with inhaled beta-agonists, these medications are routinely used in patients with bronchiectasis for multiple reasons. Bronchiectasis may cause an obstructive defect on pulmonary function testing that may respond to inhaled beta-agonists. Many older patients with bronchiectasis often have a concomitant illness, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, that responds to inhaled beta-agonists.

Finally, in the acute infectious bronchitic exacerbation that occurs in patients with bronchiectasis, patients may develop transient obstructive airway physiology that may improve with an inhaled beta-agonist. Along these same lines, many patients are started on inhaled steroids for long-term airway stabilization, but the efficacy of these medications in bronchiectasis is questionable, and any effect simply may be secondary to the treatment of other concomitant obstructive airway diseases.

Salmeterol (Serevent Diskus)

By relaxing the smooth muscles of the bronchioles in conditions associated with bronchitis, emphysema, asthma, or bronchiectasis, salmeterol can relieve bronchospasms. It also may facilitate expectoration.

Salmeterol has been shown to improve symptoms and morning peak flows. It may be useful when bronchodilators are used frequently. More studies are needed to establish the role for these agents.

The bronchodilating effect of salmeterol lasts >12 h. This agent is used on a fixed schedule in addition to regular use of anticholinergic agents. When salmeterol is administered at high or more frequent doses than recommended, the incidence of adverse effects is higher.

Albuterol sulfate (Proventil, Ventolin)

Albuterol is a relatively selective beta2-adrenergic bronchodilator that, when inhaled, relaxes bronchial smooth muscle and inhibits release of mediators of immediate hypersensitivity from cells, especially mast cells.

Albuterol is administered in a metered-dose aerosol unit for oral inhalation. It is indicated for prevention and relief of bronchospasm from any cause, including those observed in patients with bronchiectasis.

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