|Type of medicine||Xanthine-derivative bronchodilator|
|Used for||Asthma, breathing difficulties|
|Also called||Nuelin SA®
|Available as||Modified-release tablets
Theophylline works by opening up the air passages of the lungs so that air can flow into the lungs more freely. This makes breathing easier and help you feel less tight-chested, less breathless or less wheezy.
Your doctor may prescribe theophylline modified-release tablets or capsules for asthma or the relief of wheezing and shortness of breath caused by some other chest disease.
Before taking theophylline
Before taking theophylline make sure your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
- If you have any heart or liver problems.
- If you have an over-active thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism).
- If you have a stomach ulcer.
- If you drink alcohol or smoke.
- If you suffer from epilepsy (fits).
- If you are unwell with a high temperature.
- If you suffer from porphyria (a rare blood disorder).
- If you are taking other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal or complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to this or to any other medicine.
How to take theophylline
- Before beginning treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet.
- Take your medication exactly as directed by your doctor.
- Try to take theophylline at the same times each day to avoid missing any doses. The usual dose of theophylline is one or two tablets or capsules every 12 hours.
- If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember unless it is nearly time for your next dose, in which case leave out the missed dose. Do not take two doses together to make up for a missed dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- If you are having any treatment like an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.
- Keep your regular doctor's appointment so your progress can be monitored. Your doctor may wish to test your blood to make sure that you are receiving the correct dose of theophylline and to check the potassium level in your blood from time to time.
- If you have been given the Nuelin SA® brand of theophylline modified-release tablets, you should take the tablets after food. These tablets should be swallowed whole and not crushed or chewed.
- If you have been given the Slo-Phyllin® brand of theophylline modified-release capsules, you can swallow the capsule whole (but do not crush or chew it), or you may open the capsule and sprinkle the enclosed granules onto some soft food such as yoghurt (but do not chew the granules before swallowing).
- Do not stop taking this medicine without speaking with your doctor first.
- If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with your other medicines.
Can theophylline cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, all medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.
|Common side-effects||What can I do if I experience this|
|Feeling or being sick, upset stomach||Eat little and often. Stick to simple foods|
|Diarrhoea||Drink plenty of water to replace any lost fluids|
|Fast and fluttery or irregular heartbeat, difficulty sleeping, shakiness, unusual movements||If these symptoms continue, speak with your doctor or pharmacist|
|Dizziness or light-headedness||Make sure your reactions are normal before driving, operating machinery or doing any other jobs which could be dangerous if you were not fully alert|
|Headache||Ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller. If the headache continues, speak with your doctor|
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store theophylline
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Further reading & references
- British National Formulary; 59th Edition (March 2010) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London.
- Manufacturer's PIL, Nuelin SA® Tablets; Manufacturer's PIL, Nuelin SA® Tablets, MEDA Pharmaceuticals, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated February 2010.
- Manufacturer's PIL, Uniphyllin Continus® tablets; Manufacturer's PIL, Uniphyllin Continus® tablets, Napp Pharmaceuticals, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated February 2011.
|Original Author: Helen Allen||Current Version: Shehzad Raza|
|Last Checked: 21/10/2010||Document ID: 3605 Version: 22||© EMIS|
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.