• Li-Li Gong
  • Li-Da Du
  • Guan-Hua DuEmail author


Theophylline was firstly extracted from tea leaves and naturally found in tea and cocoa beans. Theophylline is a drug used for respiratory diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma. It inhibits phosphodiesterase (PDE) and thereby prevents the intracellular breakdown of cAMP. Side effects are related to plasma concentrations and include nausea, vomiting, and headaches due to PDE inhibition. Higher concentrations cause cardiac arrhythmias and seizures due to adenosine A1-receptor antagonism. Theophylline has been used much less in developed countries at present. However, low dosage of theophylline shows anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effect, which raises the reconsideration of it for the treatment of severe asthma, smoking asthma, and COPD.


Theophylline Asthma Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. and People's Medical Publishing House, PR of China 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Beijing Chao-Yang HospitalCapital Medical UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.School of Biomedical SciencesChinese University of Hong KongHong KongChina
  3. 3.Beijing Key Laboratory of Drug Targets Identification and Drug Screening, Centre for Pharmaceutical ScreeningInstitute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical CollegeBeijingChina

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