Theophylline (Oral route)
Uses of This Medicine:
Theophylline is used together with other medicines to treat the symptoms of asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, and other lung diseases.
Theophylline belongs to a group of medicines known as bronchodilators. Bronchodilators are medicines that relax the muscles in the bronchial tubes (air passages) of the lungs. They relieve cough, wheezing, shortness of breath, and troubled breathing by increasing the flow of air through the bronchial tubes.
This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription.
Before Using This Medicine:
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated pediatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of theophylline in children. However, children younger than 1 year of age are more likely to have serious side effects, which may require caution and an adjustment in the dose for patients receiving theophylline.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of theophylline in the elderly. However, elderly patients may be more sensitive to the effects of theophylline than younger adults, and are more likely to have kidney, liver, heart, or lung problems, which may require caution and an adjustment in the dose for patients receiving theophylline.
Studies in women suggest that this medication poses minimal risk to the infant when used during breastfeeding.
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking this medicine, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.
Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
Using this medicine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using this medicine with any of the following may cause an increased risk of certain side effects but may be unavoidable in some cases. If used together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use this medicine, or give you special instructions about the use of food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other medical problems—
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
Proper Use of This Medicine:
Take this medicine exactly as directed by your doctor. Do not take more of it and do not take it more often than your doctor ordered. This medicine works best if there is a constant amount in the blood. To keep the blood level constant, take this medicine at the same time each day and do not miss any doses.
After you or your child begin taking theophylline, it is very important that your doctor check the level of the medicine in the blood at regular intervals to decide if the dose needs to be changed. Keep all appointments for testing the blood level.
Take the extended-release capsule or tablet every morning at the same time each day. You may take your second dose 10 to 12 hours after the morning dose and before the evening meal, unless your doctor tells you otherwise.
Swallow the extended-release tablet whole. Do not break, crush, or chew it. You may take the extended-release tablet with or without food.
It is best to take the extended-release capsule one hour before a high-fat meal or without food.
Measure the oral liquid with a marked measuring spoon, oral syringe, or medicine cup. The average household teaspoon may not hold the right amount of liquid.
The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.
Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.
Keep out of the reach of children.
Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.
Precautions While Using This Medicine:
It is very important that your doctor check the progress of you or your child at regular visits, especially for the first few weeks after you begin using this medicine. Blood tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.
A change in your usual behavior or physical well-being may affect the way this medicine works in your body. Tell your doctor if you or your child:
Stop using this medicine and check with your doctor right away if you or your child have the following symptoms while using this medicine: nausea or vomiting that continues, headaches, trouble with sleeping, seizures, or irregular heartbeats.
Do not stop or change the dose of this medicine without checking first with your doctor.
Before you have any medical tests, tell the medical doctor in charge that you or your child are using this medicine. The results of some tests may be affected by this medicine.
This medicine may add to the central nervous system (CNS) stimulant effects of caffeine-containing foods or beverages such as chocolate, cocoa, tea, coffee, and cola drinks. Avoid eating or drinking large amounts of these foods or beverages while using this medicine. If you have questions about this, check with your doctor.
Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines for appetite control, asthma, colds, cough, hay fever, or sinus problems, and herbal (e.g., St. John's wort) or vitamin supplements.
Side Effects of This Medicine:
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
Get emergency help immediately if any of the following symptoms of overdose occur:
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Last Updated: 11/4/2010
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