Theophylline Making a Comeback? - Asthma.net

Throughout the 1970s and 80s, theophylline was a top-line bronchial asthma treatment. It was prescribed as a bronchodilator. I used to be one of many hundreds of thousands of asthmatics who benefited from it. Throughout the 1990s, it was phased out resulting from higher, safer bronchial asthma medicines like Advair. Now, it appears to be making a comeback, of types.
I may inform you many tales about my experiences with theophylline. I’ve solely informed a choose few of those tales. Some are superb tales. Like, it gave me my breath again greater than as soon as. It was additionally used to manage my bronchial asthma for a few years. However, some are dangerous tales, akin to the way it wrecked my abdomen. Like, the way it stored me awake at evening.
Think about ingesting ten cups of espresso. You would possibly consider theophylline that manner. It was a stimulant. Like caffeine in espresso, it’s a member of the methylxanthine household. So, like caffeine, you grow to be tolerant to it over time. So, to benefit from the bronchodilator impact, larger doses had been wanted.
I began taking it in 1976. By 2000, I used to be prescribed 300 mg 4 occasions day by day. This was a really excessive dose. My physician on the time stated he by no means noticed such a excessive theophylline dose. So, he made certain to examine my theophylline stage continuously.
A standard theophylline stage is zero. A poisonous theophylline stage is 20. When it will get this excessive, it might probably trigger nausea, vomiting, complications, seizures, and even loss of life. So, you wished to ensure it didn’t exceed this.
Like caffeine, it additionally relaxes your esophageal sphincter. This could trigger acid reflux disease GERD. It will possibly additionally irritate the liner of your abdomen. The can result in ulcers. In 2007, I had a bleeding ulcer. Since then, I’ve been on Prilosec. The physician says I’ll most likely want it the remainder of my life. I blame the theophylline.
Fortunately, I used to be weaned off theophylline that very same yr. This was resulting from higher, safer, stronger bronchial asthma medicines, like Advair. At present, it’s uncommon to seek out an asthmatic on theophylline. It’s nonetheless obtainable. However, it’s relegated to second-line bronchial asthma treatment standing.
However, theophylline IS nonetheless an possibility for bronchial asthma. And it appears to be making a comeback, of types. It’s because researchers now suppose it has anti-inflammatory elements. It reduces airway irritation.1
All asthmatics have a point of airway irritation. However, in about 5-10% of asthmatics, it may be very cussed to inhaled corticosteroids. So, research present the addition of theophylline with inhaled corticosteroids could assist scale back this cussed irritation.
For this reason it might additionally show useful for COPD. Like some instances of extreme bronchial asthma, COPD is commonly related to cussed irritation. Theophylline could assist scale back this to make respiration simpler.
Apparently, solely low doses are wanted. A lot decrease, in reality, than what was wanted to acquire the bronchodilator impact. So, the dangers of uncomfortable side effects aren’t so dangerous. Actually, they’re negligible.1, 2
Researchers are additionally engaged on a theophylline inhaler. Inhalers make it so medication is utilized on to airways. This additional reduces uncomfortable side effects. So, an inhaler can be good.2
It’s additionally attainable this may increasingly result in one other mixture inhaler. This one would comprise a low-dose inhaled corticosteroid plus a low of theophylline. That is all an effort to make life higher for these with extreme bronchial asthma.

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