Theophylline (Oral)

Theophylline (By Mouth)

Theophylline (thee-OFF-i-lin)

Treats asthma, emphysema, and bronchitis.Belongs to a class of drugs called bronchodilators.

Brand Name(s):
Theolair, Quibron-T, Truxophyllin, Elixophyllin, Theophylline
There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

You should not use this medicine if you have ever had an allergic reaction to theophylline or related drugs, such as caffeine, aminophylline, dyphylline, oxtriphylline, or theobromine.

How to Use This Medicine:

Tablet, Delayed Release Tablet, Capsule, Liquid

  • Your doctor will tell you how much to take and how often.  
  • Swallow the tablet, delayed-release tablet, or capsule whole; do not chew or crush.  
  • Some theophylline products should not be taken with fatty meals. Ask your doctor or pharmacist when to take your medicine.  
  • The oral liquid may be taken with food to lessen stomach upset.  
  • Swallow the sprinkle capsule whole or open the capsule and sprinkle the contents onto a small amount of soft food, such as applesauce or gelatin.

If a dose is missed:

  • Take the missed dose as soon as possible.  
  • Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose.  
  • You should not use two doses at the same time.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine:

  • Store at room temperature, away from heat and moisture. Do not refrigerate or freeze the oral liquid.  
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are taking Dilantinreg;, Tegretolreg;, Tagametreg;, Ciproreg;, or erythromycin.  
  • Avoid drinking large amounts of caffeine (such as in coffee, tea, or some soft drinks).

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Check with your doctor before taking theophylline if you have heart or liver disease, or ulcers.  
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you smoke.  
  • If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, talk with your doctor before taking this medicine.  
  • Call your doctor if you develop diarrhea, the flu, or a fever while taking this medicine. Dose changes may be needed.  
  • It is best not to change brands of theophylline. Look at your medicine when you get your prescription refilled. If it is a different shape or color than before, talk to the pharmacist.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Stomach pain with severe nausea or vomiting  
  • Tremors, muscle twitching, seizures  
  • Severe weakness or confusion  
  • Irregular heartbeat

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Heartburn, loss of appetite, upset stomach  
  • Nervousness, restlessness, or trouble sleeping  
  • Headache  
  • Diarrhea

Johns Hopkins patient information

Copyright 1996-2014 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 16.02.
Revision date: June 11, 2011
Last revised: by Amalia K. Gagarina, M.S., R.D.

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CONDITIONS OF USE: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse effects, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any drug, changing any diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment.

The drug reference included in this section is provided by Cerner Multum, Inc., of Denver, Colorado. Armenian Medical Network receives monthly updates from Multum.