Pharmacology Bronchodilators #1

Question

A client with asthma is experiencing an acute bronchospasm. Which medication is most appropriate during this emergent situation?

Answers

  1. Albuterol
    • Rationale:

      This answer is correct because albuterol is a beta 2 agonist which has the unique feature of being faster at opening bronchioles, therefore is considered a “rescue drug.” This is extremely important when bronchospasms occur during an asthma attack. Side effects from albuterol include increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, and jitteriness.

  2. Ipratropium
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because ipratropium is an anticholinergic and is not a rescue drug. Albuterol is a beta 2 agonist which has the unique feature of being faster at opening bronchioles, therefore is considered a “rescue drug.” This is extremely important when bronchospasms occur during an asthma attack.

  3. Theophylline
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because theophylline is a methylxanthine bronchodilator medication but it is not a rescue drug that is needed during an asthma attack or bronchospasm. Albuterol is a beta 2 agonist which has the unique feature of being faster at opening bronchioles, therefore is considered a “rescue drug.”

  4. Beclomethasone
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because beclomethasone is a glucocorticoid anti-inflammatory medication. This medication is given as a maintenance drug to decrease inflammation but is not appropriate or effective to help during an acute asthma attack or bronchospasm.

Overview

Bronchodilators are used to facilitate oxygenation by dilating the bronchioles of clients with asthma. Acute asthma attacks involving bronchospasm requires a rescue inhaler, such as albuterol, which acts immediately to open the bronchioles.

Explanation

Learning Outcomes

Bronchodilators include beta 2 agonists (albuterol), anticholinergics (ipratropium), and methylxanthine (theophylline). This medication class dilates the bronchioles to allow more oxygenation. Albuterol has the unique feature of being faster at opening those bronchioles, therefore is considered a “rescue drug.” This is extremely important when bronchospasms occur during an asthma attack. Side effects from albuterol include increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, and jitteriness.

Test Taking Tip

Albuterol treatments are useful in treating bronchospasms caused by exercise.

Video Rationale