Theophylline is a prescription medicine that is used for the treatment of airway spasms caused by asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It is available in several different forms, including capsules, tablets, an elixir, and an injection. Theophylline works by causing muscles around the airways to relax, which helps to improve breathing. Side effects of the medication can include headaches, vomiting, insomnia, and nausea.

What Is Theophylline?

Theophylline is a prescription medication used to treat airway spasms (called bronchospasms). Bronchospasms are most common in people with asthma but can also occur in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
(Click Theophylline Uses for more information on what the medication is used for, including possible off-label uses.)

Different Forms of Theophylline

There are many different theophylline products available, and most are not equivalent to each other. There are short-acting and long-acting tablets and capsules, as well as a theophylline elixir. An injectable form of the medication is also available. Along with many different generic theophylline products, the following brand-name theophylline medications are also available:
  • Uniphyl® extended-release tablets
  • Theochron® extended-release tablets
  • TheoCap® extended-release capsules
  • Theo-24® extended-release capsules
  • Elixophyllin® elixir.
In the past, many other brand-name versions of theophylline were available (such as Theo-Dur® or Theolair®), but these products are no longer being made.
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