Theophylline is a bronchodilator, meaning that it relieves the constriction in your airways. It also increases the ability of the diaphragm to contract and improves clearance of mucus from the airways. Theophylline may improve the benefits of other asthma medications, so it is often prescribed as part of an overall asthma action plan.
Viral upper respiratory infections with fever, high carbohydrate diets, liver failure, birth control pills, and alcoholic beverages may increase theophylline levels. Cigarettes, high protein diets, and charcoal-broiled foods can lower theophylline levels. Theophylline has the potential for many side effects and interactions with other drugs, so be sure to discuss all medications, prescribed and over-the-counter, you are taking with your doctor. Lifestyle and diet should also be discussed to be sure that theophylline is taken safely and effectively.
Theophylline is generally taken orally, but may be given intravenously. Current brands of theophylline include:
Possible side effects may include headache, hyperactivity, insomnia, upset stomach, irritation of ulcers, or gastro esophageal reflux (heartburn). Elderly males with prostate problems may have difficulty in urination and will be monitored.