The effects of oral doses of theophylline and fenoterol on exercise-induced asthma

P. A. Eggleston, P. P. Beasley, R. T. Kindley

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


The effects of oral doses of theophylline and a β-adrenergic agonist, fenoterol, were examined in 18 asthmatic young adults. Significant bronchodilation was seen with high-dose theophylline (FEV1 increased 14 percent) and with full 10-mg doses of fenoterol (FEV1 increased 10 percent). Low-dose theophylline alone (130 mg) increased FEV1 by 5 percent, but when combined with 5 mg of fenoterol, a 14 percent improvement was seen, demonstrating significant (P = .003) additive effects. The ability of the two drugs to prevent the asthmatic response to exercise was not additive. The mean fall in FEV1 was not statistically different when subjects exercised after receiving a placebo (32 percent) 130 mg of theophylline (27 percent), or 130 mg of theophylline with 5 mg of fenoterol (18 percent). Furthermore, side effects associated with the two drugs, such as tachycardia, tremor, or CNS stimulation, were significantly increased when the two drugs were given simultaneously. Thus, little therapeutic benefit was gained from simultaneous therapy. Both bronchodilation and toxicity were equivalent to that seen with larger therapeutic doses of either drug given alone, and protection from the effects of a frequently encountered stress was not significantly enhanced.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)399-405
Number of pages7
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1981

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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