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Saturday 01 October 2005

[Clinical and functional benefits of adding theophylline to a standard treatment with short acting bronchodilators in patients with COPD]

By: Dreyse J, Silva F, Diaz O, Borzone G, Lisboa C.

Rev Med Chil 2005 Oct;133(10):1211-9

BACKGROUND: Although theophylline is considered a third line bronchodilator drug for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), it is widely used in Chile, because it is administered orally and has a moderate cost. AIM: To evaluate if theophylline adds clinical and/or functional benefits when associated to standard recommended inhaled bronchodilator therapy. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Thirty-eight stable COPD patients who accepted to participate in the study approved by the Ethics Committee of our institution were studied. Using a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study, theophylline (250 mg) or placebo was administered twice a day for 15 days in addition to inhaled salbutamol and ipratropium bromide. Prior to and at the end of the study, patients underwent: a) a spirometry to evaluate changes in dynamic pulmonary hyperinflation using slow vital capacity (SVC) and inspiratory capacity (IC), b) the 6 min walking distance (6 MWD); and c) measurement of maximal inspiratory and expiratory pressures. Dyspnea and quality of life (QoL) were evaluated using appropriate questionnaires. RESULTS: Compared to placebo, patients on theophylline showed significant increases in SVC (p=0.014), IC (p=0.002), and 6 MWD (p=0.005). They also experienced an improvement in dyspnea (p=0.042) and QoL (p=0.011). All patients improved at least one of these parameters with 53% of the patients showing an improvement in 3 or more. CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that adding theophylline to standard treatment with inhaled bronchodilators provides additional benefits in stable COPD patients by reducing dynamic pulmonary hyperinflation, improving exercise tolerance, dyspnea and QoL.

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