Salbutamol effects on systemic potassium dynamics during and following intense continuous and intermittent exercise Academic Article uri icon


  • Salbutamol inhalation is permissible by WADA in athletic competition for asthma management and affects potassium regulation, which is vital for muscle function. Salbutamol effects on arterial potassium concentration ([K+]a) during and after high-intensity continuous exercise (HIcont) and intermittent exercise comprising repeated, brief sprints (HIint), and on performance during HIint are unknown and were investigated.Seven recreationally active men participated in a double-blind, randomised, cross-over design, inhaling 1000 µg salbutamol or placebo. Participants cycled continuously for 5 min at 40 % [Formula: see text]O2peak and 60 % [Formula: see text]O2peak, then HIcont (90 s at 130 % [Formula: see text]O2peak), 20 min recovery, and then HIint (3 sets, 5 × 4 s sprints), with 30 min recovery.Plasma [K+]a increased throughout exercise and subsequently declined below baseline (P < 0.001). Plasma [K+]a was greater during HIcont than HIint (P < 0.001, HIcont 5.94 ± 0.65 vs HIint set 1, 4.71 ± 0.40 mM); the change in [K+]a from baseline (Δ[K+]a) was 2.6-fold greater during HIcont than HIint (P < 0.001). The Δ[K+] throughout the trial was less with salbutamol than placebo (P < 0.001, treatment main effect, 0.03 ± 0.67 vs 0.22 ± 0.69 mM, respectively); and remained less after correction for fluid shifts (P < 0.001). The Δ[K+] during HIcont was less after salbutamol (P < 0.05), but not during HIint. Blood lactate, plasma pH, and the work output during HIint did not differ between trials.Inhaled salbutamol modulated the [K+]a rise across the trial, comprising intense continuous and intermittent exercise and recovery, lowering Δ[K+] during HIcont. The limited [K+]a changes during HIint suggest that salbutamol is unlikely to influence systemic [K+] during periods of intense effort in intermittent sports.


  • Altarawneh, MM
  • Petersen, A
  • Smith, R
  • Rouffet, DM
  • Billaut, F
  • Perry, BD
  • Wyckelsma, VL
  • Tobin, A
  • McKenna, MJ

publication date

  • 2016