Pharmacology: Pharmacodynamics: Salbutamol is a selective beta2-adrenoceptor agonist. At therapeutic doses, it acts on the beta2-adrenoceptors of bronchial muscle providing short acting (4 to 6 hour) bronchodilation with a fast onset (within 5 minutes) in reversible airways obstruction.
Pharmacokinetics: Absorption: After administration by the inhaled route, between 10 and 20% of the dose reaches the lower airways. The remainder is retained in the delivery system or is deposited in the oropharynx from where it is swallowed. The fraction deposited in the airways is absorbed into the pulmonary tissues and circulation but is not metabolised by the lung.
Distribution: Salbutamol is bound to plasma proteins to the extent of 10%.
Metabolism: On reaching the systemic circulation, it becomes accessible to hepatic metabolism and is excreted, primarily in the urine, as unchanged drug and as the phenolic sulphate.
The swallowed portion of an inhaled dose is absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract and undergoes considerable first-pass metabolism to the phenolic sulphate.
Elimination: Both unchanged drug of salbutamol and conjugate (phenolic sulphate) are excreted primarily in the urine. The faeces are a minor route of excretion. The majority of a dose of salbutamol given by inhalation is excreted within 72 hours.
Toxicology: Preclinical Safety Data: In common with other potent selective beta2 receptor agonists, salbutamol has been shown to be teratogenic in mice when given subcutaneously. In a reproductive study, 9.3% of foetuses were found to have cleft palate, at 2.5 mg/kg, 4 times the maximum human oral. In rats, treatment at the levels of 0.5, 2.32, 10.75 and 50 mg/kg/day orally throughout pregnancy resulted in no significant foetal abnormalities. The only toxic effect was an increase in neonatal mortality at the highest dose level as the result of lack of maternal care. A reproductive study in rabbits revealed cranial malformations in 37% of foetuses at 50 mg/kg/day, 78 times the maximum human oral dose.
In an oral fertility and general reproductive performance study in rats at doses of 2 and 50 mg/kg/day, with the exception of a reduction in number of weanlings surviving to day 21 post partum at 50 mg/kg/day, there were no adverse effects on fertility, embryofetal development, litter size, birth weight or growth rate.