Theophylline was introduced into clinical medicine almost 50 years ago for the treatment of asthma. The drug was widely used for 20 years after its introduction; however, following reports of adverse reactions, including death, there was a pronounced decline of theophylline prescribing, particularly for children. In the mid-1960s and the early 1970s when the pharmacokinetics of the drug began to be elucidated, an increase in the use of theophylline occurred, and it became the most commonly prescribed drug for the treatment of asthma. This trend is now being reversed; doubts are being raised even about its bronchodilator activity in certain clinical settings, e.g., acute asthma. Furthermore, concurrent with its increased use, theophylline toxicity, which was well characterized in the 1950s and 1960s, was rediscovered, dampening enthusiasm for the drug.
KeywordsInfluenza Histamine Charcoal Carbamazepine Erythromycin
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