Drowning Medication

Updated: Oct 21, 2021
  • Author: G Patricia Cantwell, MD, FCCM; Chief Editor: Joe Alcock, MD, MS  more...
  • Print

Medication Summary

Cold-induced bronchorrhea or irritation of the tracheobronchial tree by inhaled water or particulate material can produce cough and bronchospasm. Manage these aggressively because they may worsen hypoxia. The drug of choice is an inhaled beta-agonist bronchodilator.

Corticosteroids have been shown to be of no benefit in the management of submersion injuries. Routine antibiotic prophylaxis is not indicated unless the patient was submerged in grossly contaminated water or sewage.


Sympathomimetic Agents

Class Summary

These agents relax bronchial smooth muscle during bronchospasms.

Albuterol (Proventil HFA, Ventolin HFA, VoSpire)

Albuterol relaxes bronchial smooth muscle by action on beta 2-receptors and has little effect on cardiac muscle contractility.