Bambuterol tablets (Bambec)

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Bambuterol opens up your airways which helps relieve wheezing and chest tightness caused by asthma and other airways-related problems.

The usual dose is one tablet (10 mg or 20 mg) just before bedtime.

If your breathing gets worse despite taking bambuterol, you should contact your doctor straightaway.

The most common side-effects are headache, and feeling restless or shaky.
Type of medicineA longer-acting beta2 agonist bronchodilator
Used forAsthma and other airways-related problems
Also calledBambec®
Available asTablets

Bambuterol is called a bronchodilator because it widens (dilates) your airways. It works by opening up the air passages in your lungs so that air can flow into your lungs more freely. For people with asthma this helps to relieve symptoms such as coughing, wheezing and feeling breathless, particularly at night.

There are other bronchodilator medicines which are available as inhalers and these tend to be preferred to tablets. You may, however, have been prescribed tablets if your symptoms are not fully eased by an inhaler alone, or if you have difficulty using an inhaler.

Beta2 agonists like bambuterol work by stimulating receptors called beta2 receptors in the muscles that line your airways. This relaxes these muscles making your air passages widen and this makes it easier for you to breathe.

Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine can only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking bambuterol it is important that your doctor knows:

  • If you have an overactive thyroid gland.
  • If you have heart or blood vessel problems, or an irregular heartbeat.
  • If you have high blood pressure.
  • If you have high sugar (glucose) levels in your blood (diabetes).
  • If you have been told by a doctor that there are low levels of potassium in your blood.
  • If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding. This is because it is particularly important that your breathing is well controlled if you are pregnant.
  • If you have any problems with the way your liver works, or any problems with the way your kidneys work.
  • If you are taking or using any other medicines or inhalers. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, as well as herbal and complementary medicines.
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
  • Before you start the treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. It will give you more information about bambuterol, and it will provide you with a full list of the side-effects which you could experience from taking it.
  • Take one tablet just before bedtime, with a drink of water. There are two strengths of tablet (10 mg and 20 mg) so your doctor will tell you which is right for you. Take the tablet exactly as your doctor tells you to. Bambuterol can be taken with or without food.
  • If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time to take your next dose, wait until then and take the dose that is due. Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.
  • Try to keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can review your condition on a regular basis.
  • If you find that your symptoms are becoming worse or that you need to use a reliever (rescue) inhaler more regularly, contact your doctor or nurse for advice straightaway. If you have asthma, you will receive a written asthma action plan from your nurse or doctor which will help you to manage your asthma and tell you what to do if you have an asthma attack.
  • Do not smoke. Smoking causes irritation and damage to your lungs and will make your condition worse. Speak with your doctor or practice nurse for advice if you are having difficulty in stopping smoking.
  • If you have diabetes you may need to check your blood sugar (glucose) more frequently, as bambuterol can affect the levels of sugar in your blood. Your doctor will advise you about this.

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the more common ones associated with bambuterol. The best place to find a full list of the side-effects which can be associated with your medicine, is from the manufacturer's printed information leaflet supplied with the medicine. Alternatively, you can find an example of a manufacturer's information leaflet in the reference section below. Speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.

Very common bambuterol side-effects (these affect more than 1 in 10 people)
What can I do if I experience this?
HeadacheAsk your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller. If the headache continues, speak with your doctor
Feeling restless or shakyIf troublesome, discuss it with your doctor
Common bambuterol side-effects (these affect less than 1 in 10 people)What can I do if I experience this?
Disturbed sleep, muscle cramps, being aware of your heartbeatIf any of these become troublesome, discuss them with your doctor

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to the tablets, please speak with your doctor or pharmacist for further advice.

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.

Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.

This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.

If you buy any medicines check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with your other medicines.

If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.

Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.

If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.

Further reading & references

  • Manufacturer's PIL, Bambec® 10 mg and 20 mg Tablets; AstraZeneca UK Limited, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated May 2016.
  • British National Formulary; 71st Edition (Mar-Sep 2016) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but makes no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other healthcare professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.

Original Author:
Helen Allen
Current Version:
Peer Reviewer:
Dr John Cox
Document ID:
3584 (v24)
Last Checked:
Next Review:
The Information Standard - certified member

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