Pharmacology Bronchodilators #3

Question

A client experiencing bronchospasms receives an albuterol treatment. Afterward, the client tells the nurse, “I don’t want that medicine again! It makes me feel like my heart is running away!” What is the most appropriate response by the nurse?

Answers

  1. "I will note in your chart that you are allergic to albuterol."
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because the client is not allergic to albuterol. Many times clients confuse side effects with an allergic reaction. Albuterol has side effects including increased heart rate, nervousness, and jitteriness.

  2. "I have never had that happen before with this medication!"
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because even if the client was having an allergic reaction (and they were not), it does not matter that the nurse has never had it before, the client is experiencing symptoms they are not comfortable with. The nurse should be therapeutic in response to the client and inform them about the medication’s expected side effects.

  3. "Increased heart rate is expected but it will get better in a few minutes."
    • Rationale:

      This answer is correct because an expected side effect of albuterol is an increased heart rate, but the heart rate will return to normal within a few minutes. Albuterol is a beta 2 agonist bronchodilator. This medication class works to relax the muscles around airways to open those airways to help the client breathe better and easier. Albuterol is unique as it is faster at opening those bronchioles, therefore is considered a “rescue drug.” This rescue drug is extremely important when bronchospasms occur during an asthma attack. Side effects from albuterol include increased heart rate, nervousness, and jitteriness.

  4. "Cardiac dysrhythmias is expected, sinus rhythm will return shortly."
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because cardiac dysrhythmias is not an expected side effect. Tachycardia is expected, but not a dysrhythmia.

Overview

Albuterol is a beta-2 agonist bronchodilator. Albuterol side effects include tachycardia, nervousness, and shakiness.

Explanation

Learning Outcomes

Albuterol is a beta 2 agonist bronchodilator. This medication class works to relax the muscles around airways to open those airways to help the client breathe better and easier. Albuterol is unique as it is faster at opening those bronchioles, therefore is considered a “rescue drug.” This rescue drug is extremely important when bronchospasms occur during an asthma attack. Side effects from albuterol include increased heart rate, nervousness, and jitteriness.

Test Taking Tip

Albuterol can be used as an inhaler, a nebulizer treatment, and a tablet. Albuterol relaxes the airway muscles, causing the airways to widen to allow more air flow to the lungs. Albuterol acts on beta2 receptors, which are predominantly in the smooth muscles of the breathing tubes or bronchi.

Video Rationale