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How effective is theophylline?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

Only the sustained-release form of theophylline has been shown to help COPD. Some studies have shown that it relieves symptoms and opens airways more than a placebo. Theophylline in low doses reduces flare-ups but does not improve lung function. When added to salmeterol, theophylline improves shortness of breath more than salmeterol alone. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.