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Drugs

Side Effects
Serious

Although very rare, aminophylline may lead to heartbeat irregularities, seizures, or extreme breathing difficulty. Seek emergency medical assistance immediately.
Common

Headache, irritability, nervousness, nausea, vomiting, rapid breathing or heartbeat, restlessness, insomnia, stomach pain, increased urine output.
Less Common

Hives or skin rash, diarrhea, dizziness, lightheadedness, loss of appetite, fatigue.
Aminophylline


Drug Class:
Bronchodilator/xanthine

Available OTC?: No

Available Generic?: Yes

Generic 100 mg
(West-Ward)
Available In
Why Prescribed
How It Works
Range and Frequency
Onset of Effect
Duration of Action
Dietary Advice
Storage
Missed Dose
Stopping the Drug
Prolonged Use
Over 60
Driving and Hazardous Work
Alcohol
Pregnancy
Breast Feeding
Infants and Children
Special Concerns
Overdose Symptoms
What to Do
Drug Interactions
Food Interactions
Disease Interactions



Available In
Tablets, liquid, injection, suppositories

Why Prescribed
To widen the airways (bronchodilation) and so prevent the wheezing and constriction of the airways associated with asthma and other breathing disorders, such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

How It Works
An asthma attack occurs when the smooth muscles in the bronchial passages of the lungs go into a spasm (bronchospasm). Aminophylline relaxes these muscles, thus helping to widen the constricted airways and restore normal breathing.

Range and Frequency
Adults: 6 to 8 mg per day per 2.2 lbs (1 kg) of body weight. Children: 18 mg per day per 2.2 lbs of body weight. The dosage must be adjusted for each person. Higher doses are warranted during an acute asthma attack and taken as needed. Maintenance dose is taken every six to eight hours.

Onset of Effect
15 to 60 minutes.

Duration of Action
Several hours, depending on dosage and form.

Dietary Advice
Best taken one hour before or two hours after eating. Can be taken with meals to lessen any stomach upset.

Storage
Keep in a tightly sealed container away from heat, moisture, and direct light.

Missed Dose
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember up to two hours late. If more than two hours, wait for the next scheduled dose. Do not double the next dose.

Stopping the Drug
Take it as long as your doctor advises. See your doctor for regular checkups.

Prolonged Use
If used properly, aminophylline can be taken safely for a lifetime; no specific problems are expected.

Over 60
Adverse reactions may be more likely and more severe in older patients.

Driving and Hazardous Work
Do not engage in such activities until you determine how the drug affects you. If you experience side effects such as dizziness and lightheadedness, proceed with caution.

Alcohol
No special precautions are necessary.

Pregnancy
It is unclear whether aminophylline causes fetal harm; discuss the risks with your doctor. Generally, this drug should be used only if necessary and if a substitute cannot be prescribed.

Breast Feeding
Aminophylline passes into breast milk and may be toxic to nursing infants; avoid or discontinue use while breast feeding.

Infants and Children
Be alert for side effects such as agitation, irritability, fever, lethargy, rapid heartbeat and breathing, or seizures. The liquid form of aminophylline is often recommended for children to make it easier to use and ensure a more accurate dosage.

Special Concerns
Aminophylline should not be used by patients who have had prior allergic reactions to it or its components (including ethylenediamide).

Overdose Symptoms
Acute restlessness, irritability, confusion, breathing difficulties, heart rhythm irregularities, delirium, seizures.

What to Do
Stop taking the drug and contact your doctor, emergency medical services (EMS), or the nearest poison control center immediately.

Drug Interactions
Consult your doctor for specific advice if you are taking allopurinol, cimetidine, ciprofloxacin, erythromycin, troleandomycin, lithium, oral contraceptives, phenytoin, propranolol, or rifampin.

Food Interactions
Avoid excessive use of caffeine-containing beverages. High-carbohydrate and high-fat meals can decrease the effect of aminophylline.

Disease Interactions
You should not take aminophylline if you have active peptic ulcer disease or an underlying disorder that causes seizures (unless you are also taking appropriate anticonvulsant medication). The suppository form should not be used by people with inflammation or infection of the rectum or lower colon. Use caution when taking aminophylline if you have heart disease, liver disease, or an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism). Consult your doctor in such cases.

Date Published: 04/13/2005
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