Research Article

Salbutamol: tablets, inhalational powder, or nebuliser?

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981; 282 doi: (Published 10 January 1981) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981;282:105
  1. K Grimwood,
  2. J J Johnson-Barrett,
  3. B Taylor


    A study was carried out to ascertain the most effective method of giving salbutamol. Seventeen children with severe asthma received active salbutamol (4 mg via a nebuliser, 400 micrograms as an inhalational powder, or a 4 mg tablet) together with complementary placebos on a double-blind, triple-dummy randomly allocated basis. The bronchodilatation effect was assessed by measuring the peak expiratory flow rate. The bronchodilatation effect was greatest when patients received nebulised salbutamol (p less than 0.05) but lasted longest when they received the tablet (p less than 0.0001); the onset of the effect was rapid with all forms of administration. These results indicate that nebulised salbutamol gives the best relief in severe asthma; in less severe cases, however, a regimen combining the inhalational powder and tablets is sufficient and more convenient.