(trade names Brethine
, or Terbulin
) is a β2
-adrenergic receptor agonist, used as a "reliever" inhaler in the management of asthma symptoms
and as a tocolytic (anti-contraction medication) to delay preterm labor for up to 48 hours. This time can then be used to administer steroid injections to the mother which help fetal lung maturity and reduce complications of prematurity. It should not be used to prevent preterm labor or delay labor
more than 48–72 hours. In February 2011, the Food and Drug Administration has ordered to put a boxed warning on the drug's label. Pregnant women should not be given injections of the drug terbutaline for the prevention of preterm labor or for long-term (beyond 48–72 hours) management of preterm labor, and should not be given oral terbutaline for any type of prevention or treatment of preterm labor "due to the potential for serious internal heart problems and death."