Adult Medication

Brand Names: US

Elixophyllin; Theo-24; Theochron

Brand Names: Canada

Apo-Theo LA®; Novo-Theophyl SR; PMS-Theophylline; Pulmophylline; ratio-Theo-Bronc; Teva-Theophylline SR; Theo ER; Theolair; Uniphyl

What is this drug used for?

  • It is used to treat breathing problems.

What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take this drug?

  • If you have an allergy to theophylline or any other part of this drug.
  • If you are allergic to any drugs like this one, any other drugs, foods, or other substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had, like rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
  • If you are taking St. John’s wort. Do not take St. John’s wort with this drug. If you have been taking St. John’s wort, talk with your doctor before you stop taking it.
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with this drug.
Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take this drug with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.

What are some things I need to know or do while I take this drug?

All products:

  • Tell all of your health care providers that you take this drug. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
  • This drug is not to be used to treat intense flare-ups of shortness of breath. Use a rescue inhaler. Talk with the doctor.
  • This drug may affect certain lab tests. Tell all of your health care providers and lab workers that you take this drug.
  • Wear disease medical alert ID (identification).
  • Have blood work checked as you have been told by the doctor. Talk with the doctor.
  • If you have high blood sugar (diabetes), you will need to watch your blood sugar closely.
  • Limit your use of caffeine (for example, tea, coffee, cola) and chocolate. Use with this drug may cause nervousness, shakiness, and a fast heartbeat.
  • Talk with your doctor before you drink alcohol.
  • If you start or stop smoking tobacco or marijuana, talk with your doctor. How much drug you take may need to be changed.
  • If you get sick, have a fever, or have a long-term illness that gets worse, talk with your doctor.
  • Tell your doctor if another doctor gives you a new drug or tells you to stop taking a drug that you have been using.
  • If you are 60 or older, use this drug with care. You could have more side effects.
  • Use with care in children. Talk with the doctor.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan on getting pregnant. You will need to talk about the benefits and risks of using this drug while you are pregnant.
  • Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding. You will need to talk about any risks to your baby.

Long-acting tablets:

  • You may see the tablet shell in your stool.

What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?

WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Upset stomach or throwing up.
  • A fast heartbeat.
  • A heartbeat that does not feel normal.
  • Very bad dizziness or passing out.
  • Very nervous and excitable.
  • Very bad headache.
  • Feeling confused.
  • Not able to sleep.
  • Seizures.
  • Change in the way you act.
  • Feeling irritable.
  • Muscle spasm.

What are some other side effects of this drug?

All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:
  • Feeling nervous and excitable.
  • Restlessness.
  • Headache.
  • Loose stools (diarrhea).
  • Passing urine more often.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to your national health agency.

How is this drug best taken?

Use this drug as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.

All oral products:

  • Follow how to take this drug as you have been told by your doctor. Do not use more than you were told to use.
  • Take this drug at the same time of day.
  • Some foods may change how this drug works or raise the chance of side effects. Talk with your doctor about how to take this drug with food.

Long-acting products:

  • Swallow whole. Do not chew, break, or crush.
  • If you are taking this drug once a day, take it in the morning. Do not take it at night unless told to do so by your doctor.

Long-acting tablets:

  • Some products may be broken in half. Talk with the doctor.


  • Measure liquid doses carefully. Use the measuring device that comes with this drug. If there is none, ask the pharmacist for a device to measure this drug.


  • It is given into a vein for a period of time.

What do I do if I miss a dose?

All oral products:

  • Skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
  • Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.


  • Call your doctor to find out what to do.

How do I store and/or throw out this drug?

All oral products:

  • Store at room temperature.
  • Store in a dry place. Do not store in a bathroom.
  • Protect from light.


  • If you need to store this drug at home, talk with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist about how to store it.

All products:

  • Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to throw out unused drugs.

General drug facts

  • If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
  • Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else’s drugs.
  • Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
  • Talk with the doctor before starting any new drug, including prescription or OTC, natural products, or vitamins.
  • Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. If you have any questions about this drug, please talk with your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.

Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only the healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for a specific patient. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from the healthcare provider. You must talk with the healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

Last Reviewed Date



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