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Theophylline - good or bad?

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Old 04-01-2005, 03:50 PM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2005
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tlass HB User
Theophylline - good or bad?

New to this list - would welcome comments/advice - I have been chronic asthmatic since 8 yrs old - now 45 - controlled with ventolin/beclomethasone/anti-histamines/occasionally steroids - I was prescribed theophylline twice in the past for short term use during colds/flu but doc won't give me again - not sure why as they relieve me better than anything else, tried an over-the-counter cold remedy which contains theophylline - also caffeine and ephedrine - the caffeice keeps me awake and the ephedrine gives me the shakes - but the theophylline controlls the asthma - I have found an on-line source for theophylline and have been taking 125mg tablets twice a day for the past 12 months and I feel fantastic - no shakes from too much ventolin - i sleep like a baby - no more waking to use ventolin 2 or 3 times a night - and no more persistant coughing, I haven't even needed to take anti-histamines for months - please help - am I being stupid in dosing myself - I can't find any information saying that long-term use is bad - apart from liver problems - but I have had no side effects that I can feel - only good effects - i used to use 1 ventolin over 3 days - they now last nearly 2 weeks - I no longer have the shakes and haven't had to use steroids since starting them - used to have 4 to 6 courses over a year sometimes more - my asthma is caused by multiple allergies plus is hereditary - both parents - one gran-parent - all siblings (6) and multiple cousins - one sister is prescribed theophylline and can't understand why I haven't been given it - she's had it for 20 years or more - would welcome anyones comments please

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Old 04-02-2005, 12:43 PM   #2
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Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Edmonton, AB, Canada
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wrin HB User
Re: Theophylline - good or bad?

Are you being stupid in dosing yourself?

Uh, kind of. Since you can't self-prescribe a way to monitor your theophylline levels, and going on and off other drugs can vastly affect the levels in your body, leading to a sharp upslope in side effects, which include things like seizures, and death.

Which is why a lot of people hate prescribing theophylline; because it has to be monitored closely, and the therapeutic dosage is just this side of the lethal dosage.

If it works for you, great, but PLEASE for the love of all that is holy get your doctor to prescribe it so you can have your levels monitored!

Old 04-02-2005, 10:31 PM   #3
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 88
zippy_mouse HB User
Re: Theophylline - good or bad?

The reason why theophylline is not so popular now is probably that there are many other safer and more effective choices.
New medications are coming on the market.
Particularly serevent, Long-acting Beta Agonist, has taken tha place of theophylline, because
it works in a similar way with theophylline; it works by relaxing the muscles around the airways in the lungs.
Also asthma medications are becoming more and more control-oriented, targetting chemical substances causing airway inflammation.
Singulair is an example of this. This is a leukotriene blocker.
Have you ever tried them?
If you continue to take theophylline, your blood level should be checked constantly.
Hope this would help.

Old 04-19-2005, 04:23 PM   #4
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Join Date: Jul 2001
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Harmony HB User
Re: Theophylline - good or bad?

You should not be taking theophylline and not be seeing a doc. Theophylline levels need to be check MONTHLY. I was on theo for years, (it was the only drug that helped me, the newer ones did nothing for me.) If your levels get too low or high it can effect your body in real bad way. In general, as an asthmatic you have to be careful with everything you take even OTC stuff.

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