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All about: T-Phyl

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Generic Name: theophylline (thee OFF i lin)
Brand Names: Elixophyllin, Quibron-T, Respbid, Slo-Bid Gyrocaps, T-Phyl, Theo-24, Theo-Dur, Theo-X, Theobid, Theochron, Theoclear L.A.-130, Truxophyllin, Uniphyl

What is T-Phyl (theophylline)?

Theophylline is a bronchodilator. It works by relaxing muscles in the lungs and chest, and makes the lungs less sensitive to allergens and other causes of bronchospasm.

Theophylline is used to treat the symptoms of asthma, bronchitis and emphysema.

Theophylline may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about T-Phyl (theophylline)?

If there are any changes in the brand, strength, or type of theophylline you use, your dosage needs may change. Always check your medicine when it is refilled to make sure you have received the correct brand and type as prescribed by your doctor. Ask the pharmacist if you have any questions about the medicine you receive at the pharmacy.

Do not start or stop smoking without first talking to your doctor. Smoking changes the way your body uses theophylline, and you may need to use a different dose. Avoid drinks or foods that contain caffeine, such as coffee, tea, cola, and chocolate. Caffeine may increase some of the side effects of theophylline.

There are many other medicines that can interact with theophylline. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor. Keep a list with you of all the medicines you use and show this list to any doctor or other healthcare provider who treats you.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking T-Phyl (theophylline)?

Do not use this medication if you are allergic to theophylline.

Before taking theophylline, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:

  • a stomach ulcer;

  • epilepsy or other seizure disorder;

  • a heart rhythm problem;

  • congestive heart failure;

  • fluid in your lungs;

  • underactive thyroid;

  • a high fever;

  • liver disease (such as cirrhosis or hepatitis);

  • kidney disease; or

  • if you have recently quit smoking cigarettes or marijuana.

If you have any of these conditions, you may not be able to use theophylline, or you may need a dosage adjustment or special tests during treatment.

FDA pregnancy category C. This medication may be harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment. Theophylline can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Older adults may be more likely to have side effects from theophylline.

How should I take T-Phyl (theophylline)?

Take this medication exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts, or take it for longer than recommended by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results from this medication.

Take this medicine with a full glass of water.

You may take theophylline with or without food, but take it the same way every time.

Do not crush, chew, break, or open an extended-release tablet or capsule unless your doctor tells you to. Swallow the pill whole. It is specially made to release medicine slowly in the body. Breaking or opening the pill would cause too much of the drug to be released at one time.

Your doctor may tell you to break a regular theophylline tablet before you take it. Some tablets have special scored marks on them to make breaking the tablet easier. Follow your doctor's instructions.

Measure the liquid form of theophylline with a special dose-measuring spoon or cup, not a regular table spoon. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.

If there are any changes in the brand, strength, or type of theophylline you use, your dosage needs may change. Always check your medicine when it is refilled to make sure you have received the correct brand and type as prescribed by your doctor. Ask the pharmacist if you have any questions about the medicine you receive at the pharmacy.

Do not start or stop smoking without first talking to your doctor. Smoking changes the way your body uses theophylline, and you may need to use a different dose. Store theophylline at room temperature, away from moisture, heat, and light.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take the medicine at your next regularly scheduled time. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine. Symptoms of a theophylline overdose may include nausea, vomiting, insomnia, tremors, restlessness, uneven heartbeats, and seizure (convulsions). Seizures caused by a theophylline overdose can cause death or permanent brain damage.

What should I avoid while taking T-Phyl (theophylline)?

Theophylline can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert. Avoid drinks or foods that contain caffeine, such as coffee, tea, cola, and chocolate. Caffeine may increase some of the side effects of theophylline.

T-Phyl (theophylline) side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Stop using theophylline and call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:
  • seizure (convulsions);

  • worsening of your condition, or symptoms of new illness;

  • severe or ongoing nausea and vomiting, headache, fast or uneven heart rate, and trouble sleeping (insomnia);

  • coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds;

  • ongoing fever;

  • feeling restless, irritable, nervous, or jittery.

  • tremors; or

  • urinating more than usual.

Keep taking theophylline and talk to your doctor if you have any of these less serious side effects:

  • mild nausea, loss of appetite, weight loss;

  • restlessness, tremor, or insomnia; or

  • headache, lightheadedness, or dizziness.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect T-Phyl (theophylline)?

Before taking theophylline, tell your doctor if you are using any of the following drugs:

  • carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Tegretol);

  • cimetidine (Tagamet);

  • enoxacin (Penetrx);

  • ephedrine or similar medications found in cold medicine or diet pills;

  • erythromycin (E.E.S., E-Mycin, Ery-Tab);

  • fluvoxamine (Luvox);

  • propranolol (Inderal, InnoPran);

  • rifampin (Rifadin, Rifater, Rifamate, Rimactane);

  • St. John's wort; or

  • thiabendazole (Mintezol).

There are many other medicines that can interact with theophylline. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor. Keep a list with you of all the medicines you use and show this list to any doctor or other healthcare provider who treats you.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist has information about theophylline written for health professionals that you may read.

What does my medication look like?

Theophylline is available with a prescription under the many different brand names. Generic forms may also be available. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about this medication, especially if it is new to you.

  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2006 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 5.06. Revision Date: 1/14/07 2:06:41 PM.

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