Potential of beta2-adrenoceptor agonists as add-on therapy for multiple sclerosis: focus on salbutamol (albuterol)

CNS Drugs. 2002;16(1):1-8. doi: 10.2165/00023210-200216010-00001.


The beta2-adrenergic receptor agonist salbutamol (albuterol) has been used for many years in the treatment of bronchospasm in patients with asthma. In this patient group, salbutamol is a relatively safe and inexpensive drug, and is easy to administer. Within the last few years, there has been increasing evidence that salbutamol might have immunomodulatory properties both in vitro and in vivo, in different animal models as well as in humans. This has led researchers to consider salbutamol as a potential therapy for several autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis (MS). In this article, we review the literature presenting such evidence, and discuss the possible mechanisms by which salbutamol influences the immune system. We conclude that salbutamol might be an interesting add-on therapy in patients with MS and that further research is warranted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / pharmacokinetics
  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / therapeutic use*
  • Adrenergic beta-2 Receptor Agonists*
  • Adrenergic beta-Agonists / pharmacokinetics
  • Adrenergic beta-Agonists / therapeutic use*
  • Albuterol / pharmacokinetics
  • Albuterol / therapeutic use*
  • Animals
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Humans
  • Multiple Sclerosis / drug therapy*


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Adrenergic beta-2 Receptor Agonists
  • Adrenergic beta-Agonists
  • Albuterol