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Xopenex HFA (levalbuterol tartrate)

Xopenex HFA (levalbuterol tartrate) is a rescue bronchodilator treatment medicine for the quick relief of symptoms during an asthma attack. A fast-acting inhaler, it eases bronchospasm symptoms within minutes. Xopenex HFA is an Inhalation Aerosol, an oral inhalation medicine used to treat or prevent a narrowing of the airways (bronchospasm) in people with reversible airway disease over 4 years of age.1,2

Xopenex is part of a class of drugs called inhaled beta-agonists. Rescue inhalers should be used for symptoms that are very severe and need relief very quickly.2 Do not exceed the recommended dose.

The need for more doses of Xopenex may be a sign that asthma is getting worse and requires reevaluation by a doctor. Beta-adrenergic agonists alone may not be enough to control asthma. Anti-inflammatory drugs may be needed. Xopenex HFA is not a substitution for corticosteroids.2

What are the ingredients in Xopenex HFA?

The active ingredient in XOPENEX HFA is levalbuterol tartrate.

How does Xopenex HFA work?

Xopenex HFA helps to treat asthma symptoms by relaxing the tightened muscles around airway passages to relieve symptoms like wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath.1
It is a selective beta2-adrenergic receptor agonist. It is an Inhalation pressurized Aerosol delivered in a canister that is placed into a metered-dose inhaler. Canisters come in 2 sizes: 15 grams, which contain 200 actuations (inhalations) and 8.4 grams, which contain 80 actuations. The usual dosage for asthma patients is 2 inhalations per dose, every four to 6 hours.2
In clinical studies the medicine in Xopenex starts improving breathing within minutes. Response times ranged from 4.5 minutes for pediatric patients over 4 years of age and 5.5 to 10.2 minutes in adults 18 years of age and over.1

What are the possible side effects of Xopenex HFA?

The most common side effects in children ages 4-11 are vomiting, accidental injury, irritation of the throat, and bronchitis. For those ages 12 and over side effects include asthma, irritation of the nose and/or throat, pain, and dizziness.1 This is not an exhaustive list of all potential side effects of Xopenex HFA. Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist for further information.1,2

If you experience immediate hypersensitivity after taking Xopenex HFA, stop taking it and seek medical help immediately. A small percentage of people have clinically significant changes in blood pressure after using the inhaler.2 Like other inhaled beta-agonists, Xopenex HFA can cause a life-threatening narrowing of the airways called paradoxical bronchospasm. It can also create a hypokalemia condition. This is a metabolic imbalance characterized by extremely low potassium levels in the blood.1,2

Things to know about Xopenex HFA

Xopenex HFA can cause significant heart-related side effects, such as an increase in pulse rate, blood pressure and/or related symptoms. You should tell your doctor if you have a heart condition before using.1,2 If you experience an immediate hypersensitivity such as itching, skin swelling (angioedema), or skin rash after taking Xopenex HFA, stop taking it and seek medical help immediately.2

Dosing information

The typical starting dose of Xopenex HFA is two inhalations every 4 to 6 hours. Healthcare providers may advise some patients that one inhalation every 4 hours will be enough. Xopenex HFA requires shaking prior to administration.2

Before using Xopenex HFA for the first time, the inhaler should be primed (or actuated) by releasing 4 test sprays into the air, away from the eyes and face. In cases where the inhaler has not been used for more than 3 days, it should be primed again. The actuator should be washed with warm water at least once a week so the medicine doesn’t build up and block the spray. It should be left to air dry completely.2

For more details, read the full prescribing information of Xopenex HFA.

Last reviewed: September 2019
  1. Xopenex HFA. Available at: Accessed 3.18.19
  2. Prescribing Information. Available at: Accessed 3.18.19