Theophylline: Adverse Reactions

Theophylline causes numerous problems. Approximately 50% of the treated subjects experience side-effects.

Dangerous complications occur mainly when the plasma levels rise above 110 µmol/l; they mostly affect the heart (arrhythmias) and the central nervous system (convulsions) and are frequently lethal. Hypokalemia and rhabdomyolysis also occurs.

The side-effects occurring within the usual therapeutic range include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, tachycardia with subjectively experienced palpitations, extrasystoles, headaches, tremor, nervousness, excitability and sleep disturbances. A gastroesophageal reflux can be reinforced.

Theophylline: Interactions

Numerous interactions dependent on cytochrome P450. Enzyme inhibitors (cimetidine, ciprofloxacin, erythromycin, propafenone, propranolol, etc.) reinforce, and enzyme inducers (e.g. barbiturates, carbamazepine, rifampicin, smoking) reduce, the effect of theophylline. Theophylline reduces the effect of lithium.

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