Bricanyl® (terbutaline)

Editor's Note: Bricanyl is no longer available in the United States.

Bricanyl® Turbohaler® (terbutaline) is a bronchodilator, a drug which helps relax the muscles in the airways of the lungs to improve breathing. It is in a class of drugs called sympathomimetic amines. Bricanyl is prescribed to treat respiratory conditions related to bronchial asthma, such as wheezing, shortness of breath, and tightness in the chest.1-3

It is an inhaled bronchodilator. Bricanyl is used to treat bronchial asthma and other bronchopulmonary disorders such as reversible bronchospasms, which may occur with bronchitis and emphysema. Terbutaline is made by AstraZeneca.1,2

What is the active ingredient in Bricanyl?

The active ingredient in Bricanyl is terbutaline sulfate.1-3 The Bricanyl Turbohaler also contains lactose (<1 mg/inhalation). This amount does not normally cause problems in people who are lactose intolerant. The lactose may contain small amounts of milk protein residue, which also does not normally cause problems in people who are lactose intolerant. Your doctor can monitor you for allergic reactions.2

How does Bricanyl work?

Bricanyl affects the beta-2 adrenergic receptor cells on smooth muscle in the small tubes inside the lungs. It causes the smooth muscle to relax. By relaxing airway muscles, it helps increase the flow of air through the bronchial tubes of the lungs.1-3 This reduces symptoms such as wheezing and shortness of breath.1,2

Pulmonary function tests usually improve for up to 6 hours after use of the inhaler.2

What are some of the possible side effects of Bricanyl (terbutaline)?

The most common side effects of Bricanyl include:1-3

  • Nervousness
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Sleep problems like insomnia
  • Nausea and dry mouth

Bricanyl can cause rare but serious side effects, including:1,2

  • Significant cardiovascular effects such as chest pain, pounding, or fast heart rate
  • Light-headed feeling like you will pass out
  • Tremors

Things to know

Before starting Bricanyl, you should talk to your doctor about all drugs (prescription and over the counter), supplements, and vitamins you are taking. Some drugs or supplements may interfere with each other. This means both drugs may work less well, or you may have serious side effects. In particular, terbutaline may interact with:1-3

  • MAO inhibitors in the past 14 days such as rasagiline, selegiline, and others
  • Diuretics
  • Beta blockers used for heart conditions, high blood pressure, or in eye drops
  • Other asthma drugs, especially sympathomimetic amines

Before starting treatment with terbutaline, discuss all of your health conditions with your doctor, especially:1,2

  • Coronary artery disease
  • Heart disease, high blood pressure or heart rhythm disorders (arrhythmias)
  • Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy or other seizure disorder
  • Low potassium levels
  • Glaucoma
  • Hypersensitivity to other bronchodilators or terbutaline or any of its ingredients

Terbutaline is not recommended for children under 12. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant or breastfeed during treatment.1,2

Delivery and storage

Terbutaline is delivered by a metered-dose inhaler. Each metered dose contains 0.5 mg terbutaline which is delivered through a mouthpiece.1,2 Each inhaler contains 120 doses.

Bricanyl should be stored at room temperature away from heat, light, and moisture.1

Your doctor may perform periodic chest x-rays or other lung function tests to make sure Bricanyl is not causing harm to your lungs.1 Your healthcare provider or respiratory therapist can show you how to use an inhaler properly if needed.1,2 Be sure to talk to your doctor if you have any questions about your drugs or your inhalation regimen.1-3

View full prescribing information.

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Last reviewed: April 2021.