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Theophylline(450 mg)


Theophylline(450 mg)


Theophylline is used to prevent and treat wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness caused by asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (a group of lung diseases that includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema). It is also used to treat temporary interruption of breathing (apnea) in newborns.

How it works

Theophylline belongs to a class of drugs called xanthines. It works in the airways by relaxing muscles, opening air passages to improve breathing, and decreasing the lungs response to irritants.

Common side effects

light headedness, fainting, restlessness, irritability, chest pain or discomfort, increase in urine volume, or irregular heartbeat, fast, persistent vomiting, trembling or shaking, Stomach upset, insomnia, stomach pain, diarrhea, dizziness, pounding or rapid pulse, slow, headache, fits.


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Expert advice

  • Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness until you are sure you can perform such activities safely.
  • If you develop a fever/flu-like symptoms while taking this medication, tell your doctor promptly. The dose of your medicine may need to be adjusted.
  • Drinking or eating foods high in caffeine, like coffee, tea, cocoa, and chocolate, may increase the side effects caused by theophylline. Avoid large amounts of these substances while you are taking theophylline.
  • Do not take theophylline if you are allergic to theophylline, similar medicines (eg, aminophylline), or xanthines (eg, caffeine).
  • Consult your doctor before taking theophylline if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding.
  • Consult your doctor  before taking theophylline if you are in the last 3 months of pregnancy.

Frequently asked questions


Q. Is theophylline a steroid/ corticosteroid/ phosphodiesterase inhibitor/ stimulant/ antibiotic/ beta agonist/ bronchodilator/ used for COPD?
Theophylline (also available as Unicontin) is a xanthine derivative and a nonselective phosphodiesterase inhibitor. It is a stimulant; not an antibiotic or beta agonist. Theophylline is a bronchodilator and used to prevent and treat wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness caused by asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and other lung diseases.

Q. Is theophylline safe during pregnancy?
Theophylline is only recommended for use during pregnancy when there are no alternatives and benefit outweighs risk. Always consult your doctor regarding its use.

Q. Does theophylline cause weight gain/ raise blood pressure/ weight loss/ insomnia/ tachycardia/ constipation/ hair loss?
Theophylline may cause increased heart rate, irregular heartbeat, insomnia. However, it is unlikely to cause weight gain, weight loss or hair loss. If any of the above side effects occur while taking theophylline, check with your doctor immediately.

Q. Can you take theophylline with food?
You can take theophylline with or without food; but avoid drinks, foods, or diet pills that contain caffeine, such as coffee, tea, cola, and chocolate while taking theophylline. It can increase the risk of unpleasant side effects.

Q. Does theophylline need to weaned/ tapered?
No. Theophylline need not be weaned or tapered.

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