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Fatal Accidental Poisoning by Aminophylline in a Child

AMA Am J Dis Child. 1957;94(1):80-82. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1957.04030020082014.
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Fatal poisoning from ingestion of aminophylline or other xanthines is uncommon. Large doses are apparently required to produce death. The fatal dose of caffeine in man is estimated to be about 10 gm.,1 while the LD50 for aminophylline in mice has been variously reported at 265 mg. per kilogram 2 to 540 mg. per kilogram of body Weight.3

Previous to this year 10 cases of aminophylline toxicity in children, all of whom recovered, had been reported.4,5 This year 10 additional cases were reported by one observer, 4 of whom died.6 A fatality has been reported in a child from accidental consumption of an antiasthmatic preparation containing racephedrine (Ephedrine) hydrochloride, theophylline, and phenobarbital, in which it was thought that the theophylline acted as a potentiator for the racephedrine.2 Intravenous injection of therapeutic amounts of aminophylline has been followed by sudden death, but the mechanism here


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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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