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Effects of theophylline on pulmonary function in patients with traumatic tetraplegia.

Author(s): Tzelepis GE, Bascom AT, Safwan Badr M, Goshgarian HG

Affiliation(s): John D. Dingell Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Michigan 48201, USA.

Publication date & source: 2006, J Spinal Cord Med., 29(3):227-33.

Publication type: Randomized Controlled Trial

BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: To assess the effects of theophylline on pulmonary function in patients with chronic traumatic tetraplegia, we conducted a double-blind placebo-controlled crossover study in 10 patients. METHODS: The patients (age: 41 +/- 3 years; time from injury: 16 +/- 3 years; neurological levels: C3 to C7-T1) were randomized to receive oral theophylline or placebo for 6 weeks. After 2 months of washout, the patients received the medication not taken in the first trial for an additional 6 weeks. We measured lung volumes, expiratory flow rates, maximal inspiratory pressure (MIP), and maximal expiratory pressure (MEP) at both baseline and at the end of each treatment arm. Theophylline blood serum assays were measured during the first week of the treatment and on the day of respiratory measurements. RESULTS: Mean theophylline level on the day of treatment completion was 12.6 +/- 1.4 microg/mL. In analyzing the data from the group of 10 patients, the percent changes from baseline in total lung capacity, forced vital capacity, forced expiratory volume at 1 second, MIP, and MEP did not differ significantly between the two treatment arms (P > 0.05 in all). CONCLUSION: These data show that in this small group of 10 subjects with chronic tetraplegia, administration of oral theophylline did not improve pulmonary function.

Page last updated: 2006-11-04

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