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Theophylline is a xanthine alkaloid closely related to Caffeine, differing only in the number of CHC 3 groups attached to the rings of the structure.

Pharmacology and Metabolism

Theopylline is readily ingested following oral consmuption.


Theophylline is used in the treatment of asthma and other respiratory diseases. It is a better bronchodilater (broncial tissue relaxant) than Caffeine but is a less powerful central nervous system stimulator.

Health Effects

Like Caffeine, theophylline is an addictive compound. Withdrawal symptoms include headaches, fatigue and drowsiness.


Regulatory facts: GRAS(Generally Regarded as Safe) |


Theophylline was first extracted from tea leaves around 1888 by the German biologist Albrecht Kossel. The drug was chemically identified in 1896 and eventually it was synthesized by another German scientist, Wilhelm Traube. Theophylline's first clinical use in asthma treatment came in the 1950s

External Links

  • Newton R, Broughton LJ, Lind MJ, Morrison PJ, Rogers HJ, Bradbrook ID. Plasma and salivary pharmacokinetics of caffeine in man. European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 21 (1): 45-52. PMID 7333346


  • Chawla, Jasvinder MD and Amer Suleman MD. Neurologic Effects of Caffeine. accessed via
  • Klein, T.E., J.T. Chang, M.K. Cho, K.L. Easton, R. Fergerson, M. Hewett, Z. Lin, Y. Liu, S. Liu, D.E. Oliver, D.L. Rubin, F. Shafa, J.M. Stuart and R.B. Altman, "Integrating Genotype and Phenotype Information: An Overview of the PharmGKB Project", The Pharmacogenomics Journal (2001) 1, 167-170. Accessed at Caffeine* from The Pharmacogenetics and Pharmacogenomics Knowledge Base. Retrieved on 11-14-06.
  • Le Couteur, Penny and Jay Burreson. Napoleans Buttons: 17 Molecules that Changed History. New York: Jeremy T Tarcher/Penguin, 2003.
  • University of Bristol Chemistry Department online retreived on 11-14-06.
  • Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders, Caffeine Related Disorders. Retreived on 11-16-06.
  • The World of Caffeine - The Science and Culture of the World's Most Popular Drug. By: Bennett Alan Weinberg and Bonnie K. Bealer. Routledge, New York and London 2001.
    Caffeine & Health. By Jack E. James. Academic Press - Harcourt Brace Jovanovish, Publishers. New York, 1991.
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