Know the basics
What is aminophylline used for?
Aminophylline is used to treat and prevent wheezing and trouble breathing caused by ongoing lung disease (e.g., asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis). Aminophylline belongs to a class of drugs known as xanthines. It works in the airways by relaxing muscles, opening air passages to improve breathing, and decreasing the lungs’ response to irritants. Controlling symptoms of breathing problems can decrease time lost from work or school.
Aminophylline does not work immediately and should not be used for sudden attacks of breathing trouble. Your doctor should prescribe a quick-relief medicine/inhaler (e.g., albuterol) for sudden attacks of shortness of breath/asthma while you are on this medication. You should always have a quick-relief inhaler with you. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.
How should I take aminophylline?
Take this medication by mouth with or without food, usually 2 to 4 times daily or as directed by your doctor. If this medicine upsets your stomach, you may take it with food.
Do not crush or chew extended-release tablets. Doing so can release all of the drug at once, increasing the risk of side effects. Also, do not split the tablets unless they have a score line and your doctor or pharmacist tells you to do so. Swallow the whole or split tablet without crushing or chewing.
Dosage is based on your medical condition, response to therapy, age, weight, drug blood levels, and other drugs you may be taking. (See also Drug Interactions section.)
Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same times each day.
Inform your doctor if your condition persists or worsens.
How do I store aminophylline?
Aminophylline is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store aminophylline in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of aminophylline that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.
You should not flush aminophylline down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.
Know the precautions & warnings
What should I know before using aminophylline?
Before taking aminophylline:
- Tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to aminophylline or any other drugs.
- Tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription medications you are taking, especially allopurinol (zyloprim), azithromycin (zithromax) carbamazepine (tegretol), cimetidine (tagamet), ciprofloxacin (cipro), clarithromycin (biaxin), diuretics (‘water pills’), erythromycin, lithium (eskalith, lithobid), oral contraceptives, phenytoin (dilantin), prednisone (deltasone), propranolol (inderal), rifampin (rifadin), tetracycline (sumycin), and other medications for infections or heart disease.
- Tell your doctor and pharmacist what nonprescription medications and vitamins you are taking, especially nonprescription medications containing ephedrine, epinephrine, phenylephrine, phenylpropanolamine, or pseudoephedrine. Many nonprescription products contain these drugs (e.g., diet pills and medications for colds and asthma), so check labels carefully. Do not take these medications without talking to your doctor; they can increase the side effects of aminophylline.
- Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had seizures, heart disease, an overactive or underactive thyroid gland, high blood pressure, or liver disease or if you have a history of alcohol abuse.
- Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking aminophylline, call your doctor.
- Tell your doctor if you use tobacco products. Cigarette smoking may affect the effectiveness of aminophylline.
Is it safe to take aminophylline during pregnancy or breast-feeding?
There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using this medication during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking this medication. This medication is pregnancy risk category C according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:
- A=No risk,
- B=No risk in some studies,
- C=There may be some risk,
- D=Positive evidence of risk,
Know the side effects
What are the side effects of aminophylline?
If you experience any of the following serious side effects, stop taking aminophylline and seek emergency medical attention:
- An allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of your throat; swelling of your lips, tongue, or face; or hives);
- Increased or irregular heartbeats;
- Severe nausea or vomiting.
Other, less serious side effects may also occur, although they are not common at appropriate doses. Continue to take aminophylline and talk to your doctor if you experience
- Slight nausea, decreased appetite, or weight loss;
- Restlessness, tremor, or insomnia; or
- Headache, lightheadedness, or dizziness.
Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.
Know the interactions
What drugs may interact with aminophylline?
Aminophylline may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, non-prescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval, especially if you are using:
- Cimetidine (tagamet, tagamet hb);
- Fluoroquinolone antibiotics such as enoxacin (penetrex), lomefloxacin (maxaquin), ciprofloxacin (cipro), norfloxacin (noroxin), and ofloxacin (floxin);
- Clarithromycin (biaxin) and erythromycin (ery-tab, e.e.s., e-mycin, others);
- Disulfiram (antabuse);
- Estrogens (ogen, premarin, and many other types);
- Fluvoxamine (luvox);
- Methotrexate (folex, rheumatrex);
- Mexiletine (mexitil) and propafenone (rythmol);
- Propranolol (inderal);
- Tacrine (cognex);
- Ticlopidine (ticlid);
- Verapamil (Verelan, Calan, Isoptin).
The following drugs may decrease aminophylline levels in your blood, leading to poor asthma control:
- Aminoglutethimide (Cytadren),
- Carbamazepine (Tegretol),
- Isoproterenol (Isuprel),
- Moricizine (Ethmozine),
- Phenobarbital (Luminal, Solfoton),
- Phenytoin (Dilantin),
- Rifampin (Rifadin), and
- Sucralfate (Carafate).
Does food or alcohol interact with aminophylline?
Aminophylline may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug, especially if you are using:
What health conditions may interact with aminophylline?
Aminophylline may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.
- Congestive heart failure;
- Cor pulmonale (heart condition);
- Fever of 102 degrees F or higher for 24 hours or more;
- Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid);
- Infection, severe (e.g., sepsis);
- Kidney disease in infants younger than 3 months of age;
- Liver disease (e.g., cirrhosis, hepatitis);
- Pulmonary edema (lung condition);
- Shock (serious condition with very little blood flow in the body)—Use with caution. The effects may be increased because of slower removal of the medicine from the body.
- Heart rhythm problems (e.g., arrhythmia);
- Seizures, or history of;
- Stomach ulcer—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
Understand the dosage
The information provided is not a substitute for medical advice. Always consult your doctor or pharmacist before using this medication.
What is the dose of Aminophylline for an adult?
Usual Adult Dose for Asthma – Acute
Intravenous: (all dosages based on aminophylline-patient not receiving aminophylline or theophylline}
Loading dose: 6 mg/kg in 100 to 200 mL of intravenous fluid intravenously once over 20 to 30 minutes.
Maintenance dose (following loading dose): Otherwise healthy nonsmoking adult: 0.7 mg/kg/hr continuous intravenous infusion.
Young adult smoker: 0.9 mg/kg/hr continuous intravenous infusion.
Patient with cor pulmonale or congestive heart failure: 0.25 mg/kg/hr continuous intravenous infusion.
Oral: (Patient not receiving aminophylline or theophylline)
Loading dose: 6.3 mg/kg orally once.
Maintenance dose (following loading dose): Otherwise healthy nonsmoking adult: 12.5 mg/kg/day in divided doses. Do not exceed 1,125 mg/day.
Young adult smoker: 19 mg/kg/day in divided doses.
Patient with cor pulmonale or congestive heart failure: 6.25 mg/kg/day in divided doses. Do not exceed 500 mg/day.
What is the dose of Aminophylline for a child?
Usual Pediatric Dose for Apnea of Prematurity
Under 4 weeks: (intravenous or oral, all dosages based on aminophylline):
Loading dose: (Patient not receiving aminophylline or theophylline): 5 to 6 mg/kg once – if intravenous, dilute in intravenous fluid and give intravenously once over 20 to 30 minutes.
Maintenance dose: 3 to 8 mg/kg/day divided every 6 to 12 hours.
Usual Pediatric Dose for Asthma – Acute
Intravenous: (all dosages based on aminophylline and patient not receiving aminophylline or theophylline):
Loading dose:: 6 mg/kg diluted in intravenous fluid intravenously once over 20 to 30 minutes.
Maintenance dose (following loading dose):
6 weeks to 6 months: 0.5 mg/kg/hour continuous intravenous infusion.
6 months to 1 year: 0.6 to 0.7 mg/kg/hr continuous intravenous infusion.
1 year to 9 years: 1 to 1.2 mg/kg/hr continuous intravenous infusion.
9 years to 12 years: 0.9 mg/kg/hr continuous intravenous infusion.
Greater than 12 years: 0.7 mg/kg/hr continuous intravenous infusion.
Oral: (Patient not receiving aminophylline or theophylline):
Loading dose: 6.3 mg/kg orally once.
Maintenance dose (following loading dose):
From 42 to 182 days: 12 to 13.5 mg/kg/day in divided doses.
From 6 to 12 months: 15 to 22.5 mg/kg/day in divided doses.
From 1 year to 9 years: 25 to 30 mg/kg/day in divided doses.
From 9 years to 12 years: 17 to 20 mg/kg/day in divided doses.
From 12 to 16 years: 15 to 17 mg/kg in divided doses.
Greater than 16 years: 6.25 to 20 mg/kg orally divided every 6 hours.
How is aminophylline available?
Aminophylline is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:
Solution, Oral: 105 mg/5 mL.
What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?
In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.
Symptoms of an aminophylline overdose include nausea, vomiting, headache, insomnia, tremor (shaking hands or twitching), restlessness, seizures, and irregular heartbeats.
What should I do if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose of aminophylline, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Aminophyllin http://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-55851/aminophyllin- oral/details. Accessed July 6, 2016.
Aminophylline https://www.drugs.com/cdi/aminophylline.html. Accessed July 6, 2016.
Aminophylline (Oral Route) http://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/aminophylline-oral-route/description/drg-20073578. Accessed July 6, 2016.
Review Date: May 30, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017