Theophylline is a long-term controller medication taken by mouth and used alone or together with inhaled corticosteroids to treat asthma. Theophylline is related to caffeine and works by causing the airway tubes to open or dilate, relieving chest tightness. People who take theophylline should have their blood levels checked to be sure the dose is in a safe range.
Examples: Theo-dur, Slo-phylline, Theo-24, Quibron and other generics
- Prevent asthma symptoms from occurring
- Can reduce and/or prevent:
- Inflammation and scarring in the airways
- Tightening of the muscle bands around the airways (bronchospasm)
- Do not show immediate results, but work slowly over time
- Should be taken daily, even when you are not having symptoms
- Should NOT be used to relieve immediate asthma symptoms
According to the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program at the National Institutes of Health, long-term controller medicines should be considered when infants or young children have had three or more episodes of wheezing in the previous year and who are at an increased risk of developing asthma because of their own or their parents' history of allergic diseases. They also recommend long-term controller medicines for children who need short-acting bronchodilators (rescue medicines) more than twice a week or have had severe asthma symptoms less than six weeks apart. Without a controller medicine, the underlying inflammation will continue to cause more asthma symptoms.
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