Albuterol is yet another selective beta-2 agonist that athletes use as a stimulant and to burn fat1. Albuterol has been shown to have androgenic activity but is quite low2. A study in Parkinson’s patients with 4 mg of albuterol sulfate given orally four times a day for 14 weeks showed a 10% increase in fat free mass suggesting that albuterol has anabolic effects in humans3. Athletes only use the oral forms of beta-2 agonists since the inhaled forms do not seem to offer the same benefits. As with all bet agonists, there is concern with side effects such as tremor, nervousness, increased heart rate, sweating nausea and others. Chronic use of beta-2 agonists results in desensitization and loss of effect. Some have attempted to use the histamine antagonist, ketotifen to prevent the desensitization since there is some evidence in the literature of this effect4. Some have suggested that Benadryl may also have this effect since it is also a histamine antagonist and while this may be so, there is no evidence in the literature. In addition to Clenbuterol, Fenoterol and Albuterol, there are other long acting beta agonists such as Formoterol and Salmeterol among others that may be substituted based on price and availability.
1. Schweizer C, Saugy M, Kamber M. Doping test reveals high concentrations of salbutamol in a Swiss track and field athlete. Clin J Sport Med. 14(5):312-5, 2004
2. von Bueren AO, Ma R, Schlumpf M, Lichtensteiger W. Salbutamol exhibits androgenic activity in vitro. Br J Sports Med. 41(12):874-8; discussion 878, 2007
3. Uc EY, Lambert CP, Harik SI, Rodnitzky RL, Evans WJ. Albuterol improves response to levodopa and increases skeletal muscle mass in patients with fluctuating Parkinson disease. Clin Neuropharmacol. 26(4):207-12, 2003
4. Poller U, Fuchs B, Gorf A, Jakubetz J, Radke J, Pönicke K, Brodde OE. Terbutaline-induced desensitization of human cardiac beta 2-adrenoceptor-mediated positive inotropic effects: attenuation by ketotifen. Cardiovasc Res. 40(1):211-22, 1998