Salbutamol: A Drug Overview [Micro Lecture]

In this micro-lecture, Australian Paramedical College Hon. Snr. Lecturer Sam Willis discusses Salbutamol which is a very common drug used to treat asthma.

Let’s talk about the drug salbutamol. Now, salbutamol is a drug that you will be able to use in the first and second clinical workshop, and it’s a drug that is highly common throughout ambulance services around the world. Now, you’ve probably read around salbutamol, and know all about it, because it’s a very common drug to treat asthma, and, in fact, it’s that common you can buy it over the counter in most pharmacies now without a prescription.

Salbutamol is a drug that causes wide scale bronchodilation for the asthma patient. Now, when you’re administering salbutamol, you need to be aware of the indications, and side effects, and contraindications as you do with any other drug. Just because people are able to buy it over the counter, as the paramedic when you’re administering it, you really do carry the duty of care for that patient, so what that means is, if you arrive on scene at somebody’s house, and you administer salbutamol as with any drug, you need to make sure that you’re not going against any of the contraindications.

Now, when you’re assessing and managing an asthma patient, you do have to try and establish what type of asthma is it? What are the triggers? How quickly do you have to administer it? Or, do they even need adrenaline, which is used to treat life threatening asthma. However, if you need to give salbutamol in the nebulized formula then you have to use the proper mask. Now, most guidelines today following the Australian and New Zealand Thoracic Society guidelines really do encourage patients to take their own salbutamol inhalers before you give the nebulized salbutamol, because it’s a much stronger concentrated dose, and you’re using medical grade oxygen to give it, meaning you’re gonna have more side effects including tachycardia.

So, one of the biggest side effects is a tachycardia, because it stimulates those heart receptors. Nebulized salbutamol looks a little bit like this. Now, it’s slightly come in different packages, but this is basically your salbutamol, and as you can see here it’s 2.5 milligram cartons, which is usually reserved for that … One of these cartons is usually a pediatric dose, but in adults, it’s generally speaking five milligrams, so you take two of those together, you twist the top off. It’s a fluid substance, and then, you insert it into this mask.

So, as you can hear … See here you’ve going to mask with an air con … They call it an air con. It looks like an a air con. You twist the top off, and you pour the fluid into this container here, put this back on. Connect it to the mask, and then, you have an oxygen tubing that you connect to the bottom of this that goes into the medical grade oxygen canister, and then, you turn the oxygen on to about five or six liters, or until you can get a nice mist in the mask.

Now, you will be having opportunities to practice that in the workshops, so if you’ve never seen that before don’t panic.

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