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Tuesday 01 November 2005

Paradoxical bronchoconstriction with albuterol administered by metered-dose inhaler and nebulizer solution.

By: Spooner LM, Olin JL.

Ann Pharmacother 2005 Nov;39(11):1924-7

OBJECTIVE: To report a case of a patient who experienced bronchoconstriction following both a single dose of albuterol via metered-dose inhaler and a subsequent rechallenge with nebulized albuterol and review previously published case reports of albuterol-induced paradoxical bronchoconstriction. CASE SUMMARY: A 92-year-old white man with a history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease was prescribed an albuterol inhaler for treatment of cold symptoms. Within 30 minutes of his first inhalation, he became short of breath and had difficulty speaking. During emergency department examination for the initial event, the bronchospasm improved with administration of oxygen 15 L/min via a non-rebreather mask. Two hours later, the patient received albuterol via nebulizer and experienced stridor, shortness of breath, and severe bronchospasm. He was admitted, treated with methylprednisolone, and discharged the following day. DISCUSSION: Paradoxical bronchoconstriction is a rare complication of bronchodilator therapy. Although theories have been proposed about components of albuterol solutions and preservatives as causative agents, the true mechanism of the phenomenon remains unknown. Several previous case reports described bronchospasm with albuterol given via tablet, inhaler, and nebulizer. In 2 of these cases, symptoms recurred upon rechallenge; however, none of these cases demonstrates rechallenge using albuterol as both the index and challenge agent. In our patient, paradoxical bronchoconstriction was considered to be probable according to the Naranjo probability scale. CONCLUSIONS: beta(2)-Agonists are generally well-tolerated medications. However, clinicians should remain vigilant in their monitoring of adverse effects so they will be able to provide immediate care and minimize the chance of an unfavorable outcome.

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