General Description : Theophylline is used as a bronchodilator in dogs and cats with asthma or other respiratory conditions. It opens the lung’s air passages by relaxing the muscles in the lungs and chest. It may also be used with other medications in the treatment of cardiac disease. Theophylline is sold by prescription as an extended release tablet.
What is this drug?
A bronchodilator; a member of the methylxanthine group of biochemicals
Given by mouth
Reasons for prescribing:
To treat heart failure, asthma, bronchitis and pulmonary edema in dogs and cats. It opens air passages in the lungs, increases the contraction strength of the diaphragm and clears mucus from the respiratory tract.
What dogs/cats should not take this medication?
Pregnant or nursing pets
Use with caution in patients with severe heart disease, cardiac arrhythmias, GI ulcers, hyperthyroid, glaucoma, high blood pressure, a history of seizures, liver or kidney disease
Use with caution in the very young, obese, debilitated or very old
If your pet has had an allergic reaction to theophylline, ethylenediamine or xanthines including theobromine and caffeine
Read and follow the label carefully.
Give on an empty stomach , 1 hour before or two hours after a meal.
Extended release tablets should be swallowed whole and not crushed or chewedto ensure that the medication is released slowly.
Give the exact amount prescribed and only as often as directed. It can be dangerous in high doses.
In dogs, this medication is usually given twice a day. In cats, it is given once a day(usually at bedtime in asthmatic cats).
Give this medication for as long as veterinarian directs. Do not skip doses or stop giving the medication without consulting your veterinarian.
It is not uncommon for pets to initially experience nervousness or an upset stomach from this drug. These side effects will disappear in a short time. If they return, tell your veterinarian.
Call ahead for refills.
Ideally, give the medication at the same time(s) daily.
Ensure your pet has plenty of fresh, clean drinking water.
What if a dose is missed?
If a dose is missed, give it as soon as you can. If it is time already for the next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to the normal schedule. Do not give two doses at the same time.
What to tell/ask veterinarian before giving medication?
Talk to your veterinarian about:
When will your pet need to be rechecked
What tests may need to be performed prior to and during treatment with this drug
What are the risks and benefits of using this drug
Tell your veterinarian about:
If your pet has experienced side-effects on other drugs/products
If your pet has experienced liver or kidney disease now or ever
If your pet has experienced any other medical problems or allergies now or ever
All medicines and supplements that you are giving your pet or plan to give your pet, including those you can get without a prescription. Your veterinarian may want to check that all of your pet’s medicines can be given together.
If your pet is pregnant or nursing or if you plan to breed your pet
Storage and Warnings:
Refrigerate oral suspensions and gummie chews. Store all other forms in a tight, light resistant, childproof container in a cool, dry place at room temperature away from heat and direct sunlight. Protect from freezing.
Keep this and all medication out of reach of children and pets.
Call your physician immediately if you accidentally take this product.
Potential side effects:
Restlessness or caffeine-type jitters. A lower starting dose may minimize this effect
Mild stomach upset, racing heart with abnormal heart rhythm (not all patients)
Diuretic effect in some patients (increased thirst and urination)
Seizures and heart rhythm problems can occur with severe intoxication
There seems to be variations between brands. Some brands last too long, some not long enough. When the prescription is refilled, ensure that you are getting the correct brand and type as prescribed by your veterinarian.
If your pet shows any of these symptoms or you notice anything else unusual, contact your veterinarian
Can this drug be given with other drugs?
Yes, but possible interactions may occur with allopurinol, antacids, beta-blockers, cimetidine, ciprofloxacin, clindamycin, erythromycin, enrofloxacin, ephedrine, erythromycin, halothane, ketamine, lincomycin, lithium carbonate, pancuronium, phenobarbital, phenytoin and thiabendazole
If your pet experiences any unusual reactions when taking multiple medications, contact your veterinarian.
Contact your veterinarian immediately if pet receives more than the prescribed amount.
What else should I know?
Notify your veterinarian if your animal’s condition does not improve or worsens despite this treatment.
As with all prescribed medicines, theophylline should only be given to the pet for which it was prescribed. It should be given only for the condition for which it was prescribed.
This is just a summary of information about theophylline. If you have any questions or concerns about theophylline or the condition it was prescribed for, contact your veterinarian.