Research Article

Combined treatment with sustained-release theophylline and beta2-adrenoceptor-stimulating agents in chronic childhood asthma.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981; 282 doi: (Published 28 March 1981) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981;282:1029
  1. G Lönnerholm,
  2. T Foucard,
  3. B Lindström


    The effect of adding theophylline to treatment with a beta2-adrenoceptor stimulant was studied in 18 asthmatic children in a double-blind cross-over trial. Most patients were taking cromolyn sodium (cromoglycic acid) or beclomethasone aerosol, or both. A sustained-release preparation of theophylline was administered in individually titrated doses, producing a mean plasma theophylline concentration of about 8 micrograms/ml. Statistically significant improvements were found during the theophylline treatment in symptom score, consumption of beta2 stimulants in aerosol form, and morning peak expiratory flow rate and forced expiratory volume in one second. There was also a reduced need for emergency-room treatment during the theophylline period. Reported side effects were few and mild and were similar during the theophylline and placebo periods. Of the 17 patients who completed the trial, 14 preferred theophylline and three expressed no preference between theophylline and placebo. Adding submaximal doses of sustained-release theophylline to treatment with a beta2 stimulant gave further relief of asthmatic symptoms without appreciable side effects, suggesting that the drug combination has a favourable therapeutic index.