Adrenergic bronchodilators overdose

Adrenergic bronchodilators overdose is poisoning from an adrenergic bronchodilator. The term adrenergic refers to the stimulation of norepinephrine, a hormone which constricts the blood vessels.

Poisonous Ingredient 

  • Albuterol  
  • Bitolterol  
  • Ephedrine  
  • Epinephrine  
  • Isoetharine  
  • Isoproterenol  
  • Metaproterenol  
  • Pirbuterol  
  • Racepinephrine  
  • Ritodrine  
  • Terbutaline

Note: This list may not be all inclusive.

Where Found 

  • Albuterol (Proventil, Ventolin)  
  • Bitolterol (Tornalate)  
  • Ephedrine (Ephed II)  
  • Epinephrine (Adrenalin, AsthmaHaler, Bronitin Mist, Bronkaid Mist, Medihaler-Epi, Primatene Mist, EpiPen Auto-Injector, Sus-Phrine)  
  • Ethylnorepinephrine (Bronkephrine)  
  • Isoetharine (Arm-a-Med Isoetharine, Bronkometer, Bronkosol, Dey-Dose Isoetharine, Dispos-a-Med Isoetharine, Dey-Lute Isoetharine)  
  • Isoproterenol (Aerolone, Dey-Dose Isoproterenol, Dispos-a-Med Isoproterenol, Isuprel, Medihaler-Iso, Norisodrine Aerotrol, Vapo-Iso)  
  • Metaproterenol (Alupent, Arm-a-Med Metaproterenol, Dey-Dose Metaproterenol, Dey-Lute Metaproterenol, Metaprel)  
  • Pirbuterol (Maxair)  
  • Racepinephrine (AsthmaNefrin, Dey-Dose Racepinephrine, Vaponefrin)  
  • Terbutaline (Breathaire, Brethine, Bricanyl)  
  • Ritodrine (Yutopar)

Note: This list may not be all inclusive.


  • Body as a whole       o Chills       o Fever       o Tremor       o Muscle spasms       o Arching of the back (severe)       o Convulsions       o No urine output       o Low blood sugar or high blood sugar       o low potassium       o Tingling of hands and feet  
  • Respiratory       o Difficulty breathing       o Gasping for breath or not breathing  
  • Eyes, ears, nose, and throat       o Dilated pupils       o Blurred vision  
  • Skin       o Blue lips and fingernails (later)  
  • Gastrointestinal       o nausea and Vomiting  
  • Heart and blood vessels       o Rapid heartbeat       o Elevated blood pressure (initially)       o Low Blood pressure (later)  
  • Nervous system       o Nervousness, irritability       o Coma

Home Treatment 
DO NOT induce Vomiting.

Before Calling Emergency 
Determine the following information:

  • Patient’s age, weight, and condition  
  • The name of the product (ingredients and strengths if known)  
  • When it was swallowed  
  • The amount swallowed

Poison Control, or a local emergency number 
Call Poison Control or your local emergency number - they will instruct you if it is necessary to take the patient to the hospital. See Poison Control Centers for telephone numbers and addresses. If possible, take the container with you to the emergency room.

What to expect at the emergency room 
Some or all of the following procedures may be performed:

  • Administering activated charcoal  
  • Administering a laxative  
  • Emptying the stomach (gastric lavage)  
  • Administering artificial respiration (breathing)  
  • Maintaining adequate respiration rate  
  • Treating the symptoms

Expectations (prognosis) 
Survival past 24 hours is usually a good sign that recovery will follow. Mental disturbances associated with long-term use are rare and may require several months for recovery.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 3, 2012
by Martin A. Harms, M.D.

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All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.