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Monaldi Arch Chest Dis. 1996 Feb;51(1):30-4.

Low-dose theophylline: a new anti-inflammatory role in asthma management?

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University Medicine, Southampton General Hospital, UK.


Theophylline has traditionally been considered for its effect on airway calibre in the treatment of bronchial asthma. However, in this respect theophylline is less potent than the current highly selective beta-agonists. In view of the accumulated evidence of potent effects of this nonspecific phosphodiesterase inhibitor on several inflammatory cell types, there is increasing belief that the anti-inflammatory potential of theophylline may be central to its beneficial effects in the treatment of airways inflammatory diseases such as asthma. This is based on its ability to attenuate the late phase asthmatic response and to prevent an influx of eosinophils and T-cells both in the setting of experimental allergen challenge and in clinical disease.

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