Albuterol (also known as salbutamol) is used to treat wheezing and shortness of breath caused by breathing problems (such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Albuterol belongs to a class of drugs known as bronchodilators. It works by relaxing the muscles around the airways so that they open up and you can breathe more easily. Controlling symptoms of breathing problems can decrease time lost from work or school. This medication is taken by mouth and does not work right away. It should not be used for sudden attacks of breathing trouble. Your doctor may prescribe a quick-relief inhaler for sudden shortness of breath/asthma attacks while you are on this medication. Always have the quick-relief inhaler with you. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.