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Aminophylline is used in the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) and asthma.

How it works

Aminophylline, a xanthine derivative, is a complex of theophylline and ethylenediamine. Theophylline acts through many ways including action on phosphodiesterase enzyme and adenosine to expand the air passages of the lungs, which helps relieve chest tightness and wheezing (bronchospasm) causing relaxation of smooth muscle of the bronchial airways. It also has stimulant effect on respiration.

Common side effects

Excessive thirst, Abdominal pain, Rash, Allergic reaction, Anxiety, Confusion, Convulsion, Electrolyte imbalance, Diarrhoea, Vertigo, Dizziness, Eyelid swelling, Fainting, Fever, Gastrointestinal bleeding, Headache, Heartburn, Hypersensitivity reaction, Shortness of breath, Indigestion, Tremor, Insomnia, Itching, Skin redness, Injection site pain, Restlessness, Visual impairment, Abnormal behavior, Heart beat irregular


Expert advice

  • Do not start and continue aminophylline and consult your doctor:if you are above 65 years; have a heart, liver or kidney disease.
  • Do not take aminophylline if you are already taking medication for asthma or COPD or cough.
  • Avoid smoking / alcohol while taking aminophylline.
  • Do not take aminophylline if you have glaucoma (raised pressure in eye); thyroid disease; seizure or any mental disorders.
  • Do not take aminophylline if you are suffering from a virus infection, such as flu or have recently had a flu injection.
  • Avoid using aminophylline if if you are pregnant and planning to become pregnant or taking pills to avoid pregnancy.

Frequently asked questions


Q.Is aminophylline a steroid/ an antibiotic?
Aminophylline is not a steroid or antibiotic, it belongs to xanthine derivatives class of medications

Q.Is aminophylline same as theophylline?
No. Aminophylline is a complex of theophylline and ethylenediamine

Q.Does aminophylline cause dyspnea/ diuresis/ bradycardia/ tachycardia?
Aminophylline is known to cause dyspnea, diuresis or tachycardia. However, it does not cause bradycardia. Consult your doctor, if you experience any side effects.

Content on this page was last updated on 30 September, 2016, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)