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Br J Clin Pharmacol. 1980 Aug;10(2):109-14.

Theophylline kinetics in relation to age: the importance of smoking.


1 Single dose studies of theophylline kinetics were compared in groups of young and elderly smokers and non-smokers to assess the effect of age on theophylline absorption and the effect of smoking on drug metabolising enzyme activity in old age. 2 The rate and extent of absorption was not affected by age. Distribution and elimination kinetics were similar in young and elderly non-smokers. 3 In young subjects the elimination half-life of theophylline was shorter and clearance was significantly greater in smokers than in non-smokers. 4 In the elderly mean elimination half-life was significantly shorter in smokers and their plasma clearance was 40% higher than in non-smokers. The statistical difference for clearance was at the 7% level of significance. 5 These data indicate that ageing per se does not affect theophylline elimination and also that induction of theophylline metabolism due to smoking occurs in old age. Smoking is a variable that should be taken account of when assessing drug metabolism in elderly patients.

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