Terbutaline (Brethine) – Side Effects, Interactions, Uses, Dosage, Warnings

Terbutaline is a bronchodilator that is used to treat or prevent bronchospasm (wheezing, chest tightness, trouble breathing) in people with lung conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, or emphysema.

Terbutaline is for use in adults and children at least 12 years old.

Terbutaline may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.


What is Terbutaline (Brethine) used for?

  • Asthma — Acute
  • Asthma — Maintenance


What is the most important information I should know about Terbutaline (Brethine)?

You should not use terbutaline if you are allergic to it, or if you have ever had an allergic reaction to decongestant cold medicine or medicine to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (such as Ritalin, Adderall, Vyvanse, and others).

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • heart problems;
  • coronary artery disease (hardened arteries);
  • high blood pressure;
  • epilepsy or other seizure disorder;
  • diabetes; or
  • overactive thyroid.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Terbutaline is not safe to use in a pregnant woman to prevent premature labor.

Terbutaline is not approved for use by anyone younger than 12 years old.

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Side Effects

What are the side effects of Terbutaline (Brethine)?

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • wheezing, choking, or other breathing problems after using this medicine;
  • chest pain, fast heart rate;
  • pounding heartbeats or fluttering in your chest;
  • a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;
  • a seizure;
  • low potassium level–leg cramps, constipation, irregular heartbeats, fluttering in your chest, increased thirst or urination, numbness or tingling, muscle weakness or limp feeling;
  • tremors; or
  • worsening or no improvement in your symptoms.

Common side effects may include:

  • fast or pounding heartbeats;
  • chest pain;
  • nervousness, tremor;
  • drowsiness; or
  • headache.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

Can I take Terbutaline (Brethine) if I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?

No evidence of risk in humans
Based on FDA pregnancy categories

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.


What drugs and food should I avoid while taking Terbutaline (Brethine)?

Avoid situations that may worsen your respiratory condition such as exercising in cold, dry air; smoking; breathing in dust; and exposure to allergens such as pet fur.

Dosage Guidelines & Tips

How to take Terbutaline (Brethine)?

Use Terbutaline (Brethine) exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Use the medicine exactly as directed.

Terbutaline oral is taken by mouth.

Terbutaline injection is injected under the skin. A healthcare provider will give you this injection. Terbutaline injection is usually given for only a short time, to reverse bronchospasm quickly.

Your doctor may prescribe other medications to treat your condition. Use all medications as directed. Do not change your doses or medication schedule without your doctor's advice.

Seek medical attention if your breathing problems get worse quickly, or if you think your asthma medications are not working as well.

Store terbutaline oral at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.

What should I do if I missed a dose of Terbutaline (Brethine)?

Take the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not take two doses at one time.

Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely.

Overdose Signs

What happens if I overdose on Terbutaline (Brethine)?

Overdose symptoms may include chest pain, fast or irregular heartbeats, trouble sleeping, tiredness, a seizure, or fainting.

If you think you or someone else may have overdosed on: Terbutaline (Brethine),  call your doctor or the Poison Control center

(800) 222-1222

If someone collapses or isn't breathing after taking Terbutaline (Brethine), call 911



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