Terbutaline (Oral)

Terbutaline (By Mouth)

Terbutaline (ter-BYOO-ta-leen)

Treats asthma, bronchitis, and other lung disorders. Also used during pregnancy to stop birth contractions when labor starts too early (premature labor).

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 Proventilreg;, Ventolinreg;, or epinephrine).

How to Use This Medicine:


  • Your doctor will tell you how much medicine to take and how often.  
  • 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.  
  • If you are using this medicine during pregnancy and you miss a dose, your contractions may start again. Call your doctor right away if you start having contractions.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine:

  • Store the tablets at room temperature, away from heat, direct light, and moisture.  
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

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

  • Tell your doctor if you are taking heart medicine, blood pressure medicine, or medicine to treat depression.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Check with your doctor before taking terbutaline if you have high blood pressure, heart disease, a thyroid disorder, or diabetes, or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding (if you are being treated with terbutaline for a lung 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.  
  • If you are taking this medicine to keep you from going into labor, your doctor may want you to stay in bed as much as possible and rest. You may need to wear a monitor in a hospital or clinic to check for uterine (womb) activity.  
  • Follow your doctor’s orders, and make sure you know what signs to look for so you will know if you are going into labor.

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 face or hands, swelling or tingling in the mouth or throat, tightness in chest, trouble breathing  
  • Nausea and vomiting that doesn’t go away  
  • Severe dizziness or drowsiness  
  • Severe headache or tremors  
  • Your skin starts to look pale or blue  
  • Severe muscle cramps and weakness

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

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

Johns Hopkins patient information

Copyright 1996-2014 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 16.02.
Revision date: June 22, 2011
Last revised: by Dave R. Roger, M.D.

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CONDITIONS OF USE: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse effects, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any drug, changing any diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment.

The drug reference included in this section is provided by Cerner Multum, Inc., of Denver, Colorado. Armenian Medical Network receives monthly updates from Multum.