TERBUTALINE is a bronchodilator. It helps open up the airways in your lungs to make it easier to breathe. This medicine is used to treat the symptoms of asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema. Compare short-acting beta agonists.

What is Brethine?

Commonly Used Brand Name(s)Brethine

Therapeutic ClassificationsBronchodilator

Pharmacologic ClassificationsSympathomimetic




Terbutaline injection is used to prevent bronchospasm in patients 12 years of age and older with asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, and other lung diseases.

Terbutaline belongs to the family of medicines known as bronchodilators. Bronchodilators are medicines that relax the muscles in the bronchial tubes (air passages) of the lungs. They relieve cough, wheezing, shortness of breath, and troubled breathing by increasing the flow of air through the bronchial tubes.

This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription.

Proper UseTOP

A nurse or other trained health professional will give you this medicine. This medicine is given as a shot under your skin (usually into the shoulder area).

This medicine may sometimes be given at home to patients who do not need to be in a hospital or clinic. If you are using this medicine at home, your doctor will teach you or someone who cares for you how to prepare and inject the medicine. Be sure that you understand exactly how the medicine is prepared and injected.

Use this medicine only as directed. Do not use more of it and do not use it more often than your doctor ordered. To do so may increase the chance of side effects.

If you are using this medicine for asthma, you should use another medicine that works faster for an asthma attack that has already started. If you do not have another medicine to use for an acute attack or if you have any questions about this, check with your doctor.


The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For injection dosage form:
    • For prevention of bronchospasm:
      • Adults and teenagers—0.25 milligrams (mg) injected under your skin. Your doctor may increase your dose as needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 0.5 mg within 4 hours.
      • Children younger than 12 years of age—Use is not recommended.

Missed DoseTOP

If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.

Use & StorageTOP

Store unopened vials of this medicine at room temperature, away from heat and direct light. Do not freeze. An open vial of medicine must be used right away.

Keep out of the reach of children.

Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.

Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.

Throw away used needles in a hard, closed container that the needles cannot poke through. Keep this container away from children and pets.

Before UsingTOP

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:


Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.


Use of terbutaline injection in children younger than 12 years of age is not recommended.


Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of terbutaline injection in the elderly. However, elderly patients are more likely to have age-related kidney, liver, or heart problems, which may require caution and an adjustment in the dose for patients receiving terbutaline injection.


Pregnancy CategoryExplanation
All TrimestersBAnimal studies have revealed no evidence of harm to the fetus, however, there are no adequate studies in pregnant women OR animal studies have shown an adverse effect, but adequate studies in pregnant women have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus.

Breast FeedingTOP

Studies in women suggest that this medication poses minimal risk to the infant when used during breastfeeding.

Drug InteractionsTOP

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking this medicine, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Iobenguane I 123

Other InteractionsTOP

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Other Medical ProblemsTOP

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:


It is very important that your doctor check the progress of you or your child at regular visits. This will allow your doctor to see if the medicine is working properly and to check for any unwanted effects caused by the medicine.

Using this medicine to prevent or treat preterm labor can harm pregnant women. This medicine may increase risk of heart problems and other serious side effects when given to a pregnant woman for a long time. Use an effective form of birth control to keep from getting pregnant. If you think you have become pregnant while using the medicine, tell your doctor right away.

Check with your doctor at once if difficulty with breathing continues after using a dose of this medicine or if your condition gets worse.

You may also be taking an anti-inflammatory medicine (e.g., corticosteroids) for asthma along with this medicine. Do not stop taking the anti-inflammatory medicine even if your asthma seems better, unless you are told to do so by your doctor.

If you develop a skin rash, hives, or any allergic reaction to this medicine, stop using the medicine and check with your doctor right away.

Hypokalemia may occur while you are using this medicine. Check with your doctor right away if you have more than one of the following symptoms: convulsions; decreased urine; dry mouth; increased thirst; irregular heartbeat; loss of appetite; mood changes; muscle pain or cramps; nausea or vomiting; numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, or lips; shortness of breath; or unusual tiredness or weakness.

This medicine may affect blood sugar levels. If you are diabetic and notice a change in the results of your blood or urine sugar tests, check with your doctor.

Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines for appetite control, asthma, colds, cough, hay fever, or sinus problems, and herbal or vitamin supplements.

GoodRx is not sponsored by or affiliated with any of the pharmacies identified in its price comparisons. All trademarks, brands, logos and copyright images are property of their respective owners and rights holders and are used solely to represent the products of these rights holders. This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. GoodRx is not offering advice, recommending or endorsing any specific prescription drug, pharmacy or other information on the site. GoodRx provides no warranty for any of the pricing data or other information. Please seek medical advice before starting, changing or terminating any medical treatment.
The information contained in the Truven Health Micromedex products as delivered by GoodRx is intended as an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatment. It is not a substitute for a medical exam, nor does it replace the need for services provided by medical professionals. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before taking any prescription or over the counter drugs (including any herbal medicines or supplements) or following any treatment or regimen. Only your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for you.
The use of the Truven Health products is at your sole risk. These products are provided "AS IS" and "as available" for use, without warranties of any kind, either express or implied. Truven Health and GoodRx make no representation or warranty as to the accuracy, reliability, timeliness, usefulness or completeness of any of the information contained in the products. Additionally, TRUVEN HEALTH MAKES NO REPRESENTATION OR WARRANTIES AS TO THE OPINIONS OR OTHER SERVICE OR DATA YOU MAY ACCESS, DOWNLOAD OR USE AS A RESULT OF USE OF THE THOMSON REUTERS HEALTHCARE PRODUCTS. ALL IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE OR USE ARE HEREBY EXCLUDED. Truven Health does not assume any responsibility or risk for your use of the Truven Health products.