What is a normal heart rate for a child after taking albuterol? Would the heart rate typically go up or down?

1 Answer
Feb 4, 2018

Albuterol will increase heart rate.


Albuterol works on specific receptors in the body known as beta-2 receptors. We use albuterol to treat asthma in children because stimulating these receptors in the lung will cause smooth muscle relaxation, thereby allowing the lungs to open up so that the child can breathe easier.

One of the major side effects of albuterol is that it causes tachycardia (increased heart rate) . This is because, as I said earlier, it is a beta-2 agonist, and so it will hit beta-2 receptors anywhere they are located in the body, and one of these locations is in the arteries.

When beta-2 receptors are activated in an artery, they cause the artery to dilate, which allows for increased blood flow. Because the arteries are dilated, overall blood pressure throughout the body is decreased. As a response, the brain will send signals to the heart, telling it to increase its rate so that it can get the blood pressure back to the normal range, thereby offsetting the initial drop due to the albuterol.

If this sounds super complicated to you, don't fret! This is some of the hardest pharmacology to understand in my opinion.

Hope this helps!