Beta2-agonists for acute bronchitis

Inhaled beta2-agonists open up (dilate) the airways that lead to the lungs (bronchial tubes). This makes it easier to breathe. They are sometimes used in acute bronchitis to help coughing and wheezing.

Research reports that:1

  • In those with no blockage of airflow (no wheezing is present), beta2-agonists did not appear effective.
  • In those with blockage of airflow (wheezing is present), there was some improvement in cough.

The possible benefits of using beta2-agonists should be weighed against the possible side effects of shaking, tremor, and nervousness.


  1. Smucny J, et al. (2006). Beta2-agonists for acute bronchitis. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (4). Oxford: Update Software.

Last Updated: July 23, 2008

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