Theophylline is no longer considered a first-line treatment for acute asthma.17 Studies have shown that theophylline, in combination with inhaled b 2-adrenergic drugs, appears to increase the toxicity, but not the efficacy, of treatment.25 Theoretically, theophylline may be a useful adjunct by providing a more sustained bronchodilator effect, contributing to small airway bronchodilation, improving respiratory muscle endurance, and improving resistance to fatigue. Recent data suggest an anti-inflammatory mechanism of action.26
The mechanism of action of theophylline remains unknown; 90 percent of theophylline metabolism is hepatic and the remainder is excreted unchanged through the kidneys. A serum theophylline level should be determined for patients who regularly use theophylline. The most common side effects of theophylline are nervousness, nausea, vomiting, anorexia, and headache. At plasma levels greater than 30 pg/mL, there is a risk of seizures and cardiac arrhythmias.
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If you suffer with asthma, you will no doubt be familiar with the uncomfortable sensations as your bronchial tubes begin to narrow and your muscles around them start to tighten. A sticky mucus known as phlegm begins to produce and increase within your bronchial tubes and you begin to wheeze, cough and struggle to breathe.