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Generic name: Levalbuterol hydrochloride
Brand names: Xopenex

Why is Xopenex prescribed?

Xopenex is a "bronchodilator." It works by relaxing the muscles in the walls of the lungs" many tiny airways (bronchioles), allowing them to expand so you can get more air. It is prescribed for asthma.

Most important fact about Xopenex

If your prescribed dosage of Xopenex does not provide relief, or your symptoms become worse, consult your doctor immediately.

How should you take Xopenex?

Do not use more Xopenex than prescribed. Increasing the number of doses can be dangerous and may actually make your asthma worse.

Xopenex should be taken only with an inhalation device called a nebulizer. Do not add any other drugs to the nebulizer without first asking your doctor.

--If you miss a dose...

Take the forgotten dose as soon as you remember; then take any remaining doses for that day at equally spaced intervals. Never take a double dose.

--Storage instructions...

Store unopened vials of Xopenex inhalation solution in their protective foil pouch at room temperature, away from light and excessive heat. Once the foil pouch has been opened, the vials should be used within 1 to 2 weeks. Once a vial has been opened, the contents should be used immediately or discarded. The solution should be colorless. If not, throw the vial out.

What side effects may occur?

Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking Xopenex.

  • More common side effects may include:
    Cough, flu symptoms, nervousness, runny nose, sinus inflammation, tremors, viral infection
  • Side effects in children may include:
    Diarrhea, fever, headache, hives, increased asthma symptoms, muscle pain, rash, runny nose, sore throat, swollen glands, viral infection, weakness

Why should Xopenex not be prescribed?

If Xopenex gives you an allergic reaction, you will not be able to use it.

Special warnings about Xopenex

There is a slight chance of developing an immediate, serious allergic reaction to Xopenex, with symptoms such as hives, rash, mouth and throat swelling, and bronchospasm (constricted airways and difficulty breathing). If this happens, or you experience bronchospasm alone, stop using Xopenex and call your doctor immediately.

If your asthma symptoms get worse despite Xopenex, call your doctor. He may need to add an anti-inflammatory steroid drug such as prednisone or beclomethasone to your treatment regimen.

Use Xopenex with caution if you have a heart condition, an irregular heartbeat, or high blood pressure. Call your doctor immediately if you notice any change in heartbeat, pulse, or blood pressure. Caution is also advised if you suffer from seizures, an overactive thyroid gland, or diabetes.

Possible food and drug interactions when taking Xopenex

Xopenex should be used cautiously, if at all, with other bronchodilators such as Proventil, Ventolin, or Primatene Mist.

If Xopenex is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Xopenex with the following:

Antidepressant drugs classified as MAO inhibitors (Marplan, Nardil, and Parnate) or tricyclics (Elavil and Tofranil)
Beta blockers (heart and blood pressure drugs) such as Inderal, Lopressor, and Tenormin
Digoxin (Lanoxin)
Diuretics (water pills) that lower your potassium levels such as Lasix and HydroDIURIL

Special information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

The effects of Xopenex during pregnancy have not been adequately studied. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, inform your doctor immediately. It is not known whether Xopenex appears in breast milk, but it"s considered wise to either give up breastfeeding or discontinue the drug.

Recommended dosage


For adults and children 12 and older, the usual starting dose is 0.63 milligrams 3 times a day by nebulizer, every 6 to 8 hours. Your doctor will increase the dose to 1.25 milligrams 3 times a day if you have severe asthma or the lower dose fails to provide relief.


For children 6 through 11 years old, the usual dosage is 0.31 milligrams 3 times a day by nebulizer. A dosage of more than 0.63 milligrams 3 times daily is not recommended.


Any medication taken in excess can have serious consequences. If you suspect an overdose of Xopenex, seek medical attention immediately.

  • Symptoms of Xopenex overdose may include:
    Chest pain, dizziness, dry mouth, fatigue, flu symptoms, headache, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, insomnia, low blood pressure, nausea, nervousness, rapid heartbeat, tremors, seizures

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