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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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