Reliever. Albuterol is a class of medicine known as a beta-agonist. Albuterol helps to relax the breathing tubes thus opening the airways so the patient can breathe normally again. These medicines work fairly quickly to relieve symptoms so they can be given regularly to prevent symptoms but can also be given at the first sign of an exacerbation to prevent progression of symptoms.
Wheezing. Albuterol is the best medication for acute asthma attacks with wheezing. For long term control of asthma, other medications, such as an inhaled steroid, are used in addition to albuterol.
Fast relief. Albuterol is a very fast-acting bronchodilator. It works best for an acute asthma attack. Other asthma meds are slow-acting or work in different ways to prevent exacerbations. These must be taken as directed, symptoms or not. Well-controlled asthma should only require very rare albuterol use unless directed by a physician.
Asthma symptoms. Albuterol, Levalbuterol or Pirbuterol are the most effective short acting bronchodilators and should be prescribed to all patients with asthma as a rescue medication. Asthma symptoms may consist of cough, wheeze, dyspnea and/or mucus production.