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Theophylline Does Not Shorten Hospital Stay for Children Admitted for Asthma

Joshua P. Needleman, MD; Marie C. Kaifer, MD; Jeffery T. Nold, DO; Paul E. Shuster, MD; Mark M. Redding, MD; Jack Gladstein, MD
Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1995;149(2):206-209. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1995.02170140088016.
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Objective:  To determine if the use of intravenous theophylline, in the form of aminophylline, when added to systemic corticosteroids and aerosolized β2-agonists, enhances the improvement of children with acute asthma exacerbations.

Design:  A double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized, clinical trial.

Setting:  The University of Maryland Medical Center, Baltimore, an urban primary- and tertiary-care pediatric medical center.

Patients:  Forty-two children, aged 2 to 18 years, admitted to the hospital for acute exacerbations of asthma.

Methods:  Patients were randomized to receive either intravenous theophylline to maintain a serum level greater than 55 μmol/L or a placebo infusion. All patients received methylprednisolone and nebulized albuterol. A clinical severity score was assessed twice daily.

Results:  The mean length of stay for the treatment and control groups was 52.3±32.3 hours and 48.2±26.6 hours, respectively (t=0.45, P=.65). The rate of improvement of clinical scores was similar.

Conclusion:  These data suggest that the addition of theophylline to albuterol and corticosteroids does not enhance improvement of children admitted to the hospital with asthma.(Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1995;149:206-209)


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