levalbuterol hydrochloride

levalbuterol hydrochloride

Xopenex HFA

Pharmacologic class: Adrenergic beta2 agonist

Therapeutic class: Bronchodilator

Pregnancy risk category C


Binds to beta2-adrenergic receptors on bronchial cell membrane, stimulating the intracellular enzyme adenylate cyclase to convert adenosine triphosphate to cyclic-3′,5′-adenosine monophosphate. This action relaxes smooth muscles, dilates bronchioles, and increases diuresis.


Solution for inhalation: 0.31 mg/3 ml, 0.63 mg/3 ml, 1.25 mg/3 ml

Indications and dosages

Prevention and treatment of bronchospasm

Adults and children ages 12 and older: 0.63 to 1.25 mg by oral inhalation via nebulizer q 6 to 8 hours

Children ages 6 to 11: 0.31 to 0.63 mg by oral inhalation via nebulizer t.i.d.


• Hypersensitivity to drug or racemic albuterol


Use cautiously in:

• renal, hepatic, or cardiac impairment; hyperthyroidism; diabetes mellitus; hypertension; prostatic hypertrophy; angle-closure glaucoma; seizures

• pregnant patients.


• Use only with nebulizer system designed for this drug.

• Keep unopened vials in foil pouch. Once pouch is opened, use within 2 weeks.

• If vial is removed from pouch, protect from light and use within 1 week.

Adverse reactions

CNS: anxiety, dizziness, hypertonia, insomnia, migraine, headache, nervousness, paresthesia, syncope, tremor

CV: chest pain, hypertension, hypotension, tachycardia

EENT: rhinitis, sinusitis, dry throat

GI: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, dyspepsia, anorexia, dry mouth

Metabolic: hypokalemia

Musculoskeletal: muscle cramps, myalgia

Respiratory: cough, dyspnea, asthma exacerbation, paradoxical bronchospasm

Other: sour taste, flulike symptoms, lymphadenopathy, chills


Drug-drug. Aerosol bronchodilators: increased action of both drugs

Antidepressants: increased risk of adverse cardiovascular effects

Beta-adrenergic blockers: inhibition of levalbuterol effect

Digoxin: decreased digoxin blood level

Loop and thiazide diuretics: increased risk of hypokalemia

Drug-food. Caffeine-containing foods and beverages: increased stimulation

Drug-herbs. Cola nut, ephedra (ma huang), guarana, yerba maté: increased stimulation

Patient monitoring

• Monitor vital signs and ECG closely.

• Assess cardiovascular and neurologic status. Institute safety measures as needed to prevent injury.

Monitor for paradoxical bronchospasm. If it occurs, stop drug therapy and notify prescriber immediately.

• Check electrolyte levels for hypokalemia.

• Assess patient's response to drug. Contact prescriber if patient needs more frequent doses for same effect.

Patient teaching

• Teach patient how to prepare drug, administer it with nebulizer, and maintain and clean nebulizer.

• Advise patient to continue treatment for about 5 to 15 minutes or until mist no longer forms in nebulizer reservoir.

Tell patient to immediately report increased difficulty breathing or tightness in chest.

• Caution patient to avoid driving and other hazardous activities until he knows how drug affects concentration and alertness.

• As appropriate, review all other significant and life-threatening adverse reactions and interactions, especially those related to the drugs, foods, and herbs mentioned above.