Do you love your Ventolin?

18 Apr Do you love your Ventolin?

We all know the benefits of using our Ventolin: it works as a bronchodilator to reduce muscle spasms and relax the airways to relieve the symptoms of asthma (i.e. coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing etc). Most people diagnosed with COPD or asthma use Ventolin to some extent, whether it be a routinely daily prescribed dosage from their doctor, or to be carried with them and used “as needed”. However, the exact number of puffs that might be necessary to relieve your symptoms can greatly different between people.

A recent study analysed the difference in lung function results in a paediatric population after using either two, or four puffs of Albuterol (Ventolin). According to the American Thoracic Society (ATS) guidelines, when testing for reversible spirometry (breathing tests performed both prior and following bronchodilator administration), four puffs of Ventolin should be delivered. This study separated participants into two groups: the two-puff delivery group, and the four-puff delivery group. They tested lung function following their respective number of puffs and determined the difference between the cohorts.

Overall, it was found that two puffs of Ventolin were not inferior to four puffs when determining bronchodilator responsiveness. There was no major difference in ATS-defined bronchodilator response between the two groups. It is important to keep in mind that these results were accrued from a paediatric population – all participants were part of the Connecticut Children’s Medical Centre. However, it does provide us with an interesting insight in to how we might possibly need to think about our Ventolin use.

So – how many puffs are you doing?


Anne V McLaughlin, Anita Bhandari, Craig M Schramm

Department of Paediatric Pulmonary Medicine, Connecticut Children’s Medical Centre, Hartford, CT, USA; Department of Paediatrics, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington, CT, USA; Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, USA