Salbutamol is used to open the large and medium airways in the lungs by way of causing the smooth muscles in the airway to relax. Salbutamol is a short-acting β2 adrenergic receptor agonist. Typically taken in the form of a nebulizer or inhaler, the onset of the therapeutic effects begin 15 minutes approx after inhalation, and can last for up to 6 hours.

Used typically to treat bronchospasms (by cause of allergen asthma or exercise), and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. A novel method of using salbutamol lies in obstetrics; salbutamol administered intravenously can be used to relax the smooth muscle of the uterus in order to delay premature labour, but clinicians tend to lean toward the use of the calcium channel blocker nifedipine due to the easier administration.