Aminophylline (Inhalation)

Aminophylline relaxes the muscles in the airways and opens air passages for better breathing.


This medicine is prescribed for treating and preventing wheezing and breathing difficulty caused by unending lung disease (such as chronic bronchitis, asthma, and emphysema). Aminophylline is classified as a xanthine. It relaxes muscles in the airways, opening up air passages to enhance breathing, and minimize the lungs' reaction to irritants. Managing symptoms of breathing difficulties can reduce the time lost from school or work.

Aminophylline doesn't work straight away and shouldn't be taken for sudden breathing problems. Your physician should prescribe a fast-acting relief medication or inhaler for sudden asthma or shortness of breath attacks while you're on Aminophylline. You always should have a fast-relief inhaler on hand. For more information, consult your pharmacist or physician.

Take Aminophylline orally with or without meals, usually two to four times a day or as ordered by your healthcare giver. If you get a stomach upset as result, take the medicine with food.

Don't chew or crush Aminophylline tablets. If you do that, the entire drug can be released right away, increasing the chances of side effects. In addition, don't split the pills unless your pharmacist/doctor tells you to. Swallow the split or whole tablet without chewing or crushing.

Aminophylline dosage will depend on your age, weight, response to treatment, drug blood levels, medical condition, and other medicines you may be using. For more information, turn to the drug interactions section.

Some diets like low carbohydrate/high protein or low protein/high carbohydrate may affect the work of Aminophylline. Inform your physician if you've made any major alterations to your diet. He or she may need to revise your dose.

Use Aminophylline on a regular basis to get the most out of it. As a reminder, take the medication at the same time every day.

Let your physician know if your condition gets worse or persists.

Conditions treated

Type of medicine

  • Xanthine

Side effects

Apart from its beneficial effects, Aminophylline can cause several unwanted effects. Of course, not all these Aminophylline side effects can occur but if they happen, you may require medical attention.

Go to your doctor right away if you go through any of these effects while using Aminophylline.


  • Cracks in skin
  • Skin rash
  • Red, swollen skin
  • Scaly skin
  • Heat loss in the body

Frequency unknown:

  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Chest pain/discomfort
  • Lightheadedness
  • Slow, fast, or irregular heartbeat
  • Increased urine volume
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Shakiness
  • Rapid or pounding pulse

Get emergency assistance as soon as possible if you have any of these overdose symptoms while taking Aminophylline.

Overdose symptoms:

  • Blurred vision
  • Confusion
  • Stomach/abdominal pain
  • Confusion about time, place, or identity
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Diarrhea
  • Decreased frequency of urination
  • Decreased urine
  • Difficulty in urinating (dribbling)
  • Faintness, lightheadedness, or dizziness when suddenly getting up from a sitting/lying position
  • Fever
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased thirst
  • Loss of appetite
  • Irregular, pounding, or fast heartbeat or pulse
  • Muscle spasms or cramps
  • Mood changes
  • Nervousness
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Muscle stiffness or pain
  • Tingling/numbness in the lips, hands, or feet
  • Shortness of breath
  • Painful urination
  • Sweating
  • Shakiness in the hands, arms, feet, or legs
  • Discomfort or pain in the back, neck, jaw, or arms
  • Unusual weakness/tiredness
  • Vomiting blood or something that resembles coffee grounds

Some Aminophylline side effects can happen that usually need no medical attention. Such side effects may fade away during treatment while the body adapts to the drug. Additionally, your healthcare provider may help you with ways to reduce or prevent some of the effects. Consult your healthcare giver if you have questions about any of these side effects if they persist, or they're bothersome.

Frequency unknown:

  • Headache
  • Sleeplessness
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Inability to sleep
  • Trouble sleeping


Take this medicine exactly as prescribed. If you don't understand the directions, ask your healthcare provider to break it down for you.

Take every dose with a glass of water. You can take this medication with food to reduce the chances of a stomach upset.

Take your doses every day at the same time to keep a consistent Aminophylline level in your blood.

Aminophylline is specially made to release gradually into your body. Therefore, don't chew or crush the tablets before swallowing. Swallow it whole. To know whether your medicine is an extended-release variety, ask your pharmacist.

Shake the liquid variety of Aminophylline well before use. Use a dose-measuring spoon or cup to get the right dose of the medication. If you a cup or spoon isn't provided with the medicine and you don't have one, find out from your pharmacist where to get one.

Rectally insert the suppositories as instructed.

Don't switch to another Aminophylline brand or a generic variety of the medication without your doctor's authorization.

If you remember a missed dose within four hours of when your dose was due, take that dose right away. Take the next dose at the usual time. If you're over 4 hours late, contact your pharmacist/doctor for advice.

Taking excess Aminophylline can cause these effects: feeling sick, vomiting blood, restlessness, headache, low blood pressure, muscle twitching, stomach pain, fitting, irregular or fast heart rate, wild movements on the legs and arms, low potassium levels, high levels of blood sugar, and coma. Side effects from using too much of this medicine may develop up to 12 hours after using the medicine.

If you've used too much Aminophylline, call your local hospital or doctor immediately.

If you or someone you know may have accidentally used too much Aminophylline, call your local hospital or doctor straight away.


Before using Aminophylline, tell your physician about all the drugs you're taking, including those you've bought without prescription, and prescription medicines. Also tell a doctor if you're taking complementary remedies like herbal products or vitamins as they may interact with medications as well.

If you're using more than one medication, they can interact with each other. Sometimes your doctor may opt to use medications which interact if the benefits are more than the risks. In that case, your doses may need to be revised or you may need to be closely monitored.

The following medications can interact with Aminophylline:

  • Other medicines with xanthine derivates like theophylline, pentoxifylline, and oxpentifylline
  • Ephedrine (present in many cold and cough medicines)
  • Quinolones (used for treating infection, for example, ofloxacin, ciprofloxacin)
  • Steroids
  • Other medicines for treating asthma or breathing problems that contain aminophylline, theophylline, salbutamol, terbutaline, or salmeterol
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Water pills (diuretics) to increase production of urine
  • Herbal remedy known as St John's Wort (aka Hypericum perforatum)
  • Ritonavir for treating HIV
  • Phenytoin or carbamazepine to treat fits, convulsions, or seizures
  • Lomustine, methotrexate, or aminoglutethimide to treat cancer
  • Barbiturates to help with sleep
  • Beta blockers, adenosine, isoprenaline, diltiazem, moricizine, mexiletine, propafenone, verapamil, propranolol for treating high blood pressure as well as other heart problems
  • Benzodiazepines used for sedation or treating anxiety
  • Oxpentifylline for treating infected blood vessels
  • Allopurinol or sulphinpyrazone to treat gout
  • Carbimazole for treating thyroid gland problems
  • Nizatidine or Cimetidine for treating stomach ulcers, heartburn, or indigestion
  • Certain antibiotics like ofloxacin, erythromycin, norfloxacin, and clarithromycin
  • Fluconazole for treating fungal infections
  • Isoniazid or rifampicin for treating tuberculosis (TB)
  • Interferons for treating herpes, leukemia, hepatitis, or cancer
  • Doxapram for stimulating breathing
  • Thiabendazole for treating worms like threadworms
  • Disulfiram for treating alcoholism
  • Lithium, Fluvoxamine, viloxazine for treating depression


Before using Aminophylline, let your pharmacist/physician know if you're allergic to the medication, or other xanthines. Let them also know if you have other allergies.

Aminophylline shouldn't be taken if you have some medical issues. Before taking this medication, see your doctor/pharmacist if there's an allergy to caffeine, theobromine, ethylenediamine, theophylline, or any other content in the medication. Also tell them if you have the inherited condition porphyria, or if you're using any other medications containing theophylline or aminophylline or xanthine derivates like pentoxifylline or oxpentifylline.

Before using Aminophylline, give your pharmacist/doctor your medical history, particularly of stomach ulcer/history of stomach ulcer, high blood pressure, overactive thyroid, poor circulation, viral infection, fever or feeling unwell with high temperature, hypoxaemia (less than normal oxygen levels in the blood), heart problems (e.g. irregular heart rate or heart failure), liver problems, and low potassium levels. Also tell your physician if you drink or smoke, if you have flu, or if you've had or are going to get a flu injection.

Before undergoing surgery, tell your dentist or doctor that you're using Aminophylline.

Aminophylline should be taken carefully by seniors as they may be at more risk of developing side effects. They may need a lower dose of Aminophylline.

Children are especially more vulnerable to the side effects of theophylline, so care should be taken when administering Aminophylline to kids.

Aminophylline should be taken carefully by people with peptic ulcer, glaucoma, hyperthyroidism, diabetes mellitus, severe hypoxemia, epilepsy, and compromised circulatory or cardiac function as these problems may be worsened.

Aminophylline shouldn't be taken concurrently with other xanthines.

Aminophylline isn't recommended for those who are pregnant or are planning to get pregnant.

It's best to limit the use of Aminophylline during pregnancy. However, your physician may determine that the benefits are greater than the risks in your case and after a thorough assessment of your particular health situation.

If you've got any concerns or doubts, you should discuss this medication with your pharmacist/doctor.

Aminophylline isn't recommended for those who are breastfeeding.

It is wise to minimize the use of Aminophylline when breastfeeding. However, your healthcare provider may decide that taking the medication is the better option in your specific circumstances after a thorough evaluation of your particular health condition. If you also have doubts or questions, discuss this medicine with your doctor or pharmacist.

Aminophylline may cause lightheadedness or dizziness, so don't operate machines or drive while using this medicine.

Avoid taking tea, coffee, and cola, or smoking cigarettes while using this drug. Doing so can cause serious side effects.


Keep Aminophylline in a securely closed container.

Keep the drug away from kids.

Keep suppositories in your fridge.

Store other varieties of the medication away from too much moisture and at room temperature.


Keep all of your lab and doctor appointments. Your doctor will organize certain laboratory tests to assess your response to this medication.

Don't switch from one Aminophylline brand to another without your doctor's knowledge.

Don't let anybody else use your Aminophylline medication. If you have any questions about refilling your Aminophylline prescription, ask your pharmacist.

It's important that you keep a list of all medicines you're using (both over-the-counter and prescription), and any products like minerals, vitamins, or dietary supplements you're taking. Give your doctor this list each time you pay them a visit or if you're hospitalized. This list will also come in handy when you have emergencies.

Intravenous Aminophylline should be given very slowly to avert dangerous cardiovascular and central nervous system side effects caused by the direct stimulating effects of the medication.

If you're going to have surgery or dental treatment, let your doctor/dentist know which medications you're using as some anesthetics may interfere with Aminophylline.

Some vaccines, like flu vaccine, can also affect the levels of Aminophylline in your blood. Let your physician know if you have any vaccinations.

An Aminophylline overdose can be extremely toxic. If you think someone has used too much of the medicine (and particularly if it's a kid), go to the emergency room of your nearest hospital right away. Bring the container, even if it's empty.

Call your doctor straight away if you suffer nausea, vomiting, restlessness, seizures, insomnia, headache, or increased heart rate. These might be signs of excess Aminophylline in your system.

Don't start smoking without informing your doctor. Smoking can affect your prescribed amount.

Don't use more of Aminophylline than is recommended without talking to your doctor. Get treatment if you're having more difficulties with breathing.

Last Reviewed:
December 10, 2017
Last Updated:
April 02, 2018
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