Theophylline

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Theophylline, also known as dimethylxanthine, is a methylxanthine drug used in therapy for respiratory diseases such as COPD and asthma under a variety of brand names. Because of its numerous side-effects, the drug is now rarely administered for clinical use. As a member of the xanthine family, it bears structural and pharmacological similarity to caffeine. It is naturally found in tea, although in trace amounts (~1 mg/L),[1] significantly less than therapeutic doses.[2] It is found also in cocoa beans. Amounts as high as 3.7 mg/g have been reported in Criollo cocoa beans.[3]

The main actions of theophylline involve:

Contents

History

Theophylline was first extracted from tea leaves and chemically identified around 1888 by the German biologist Albrecht Kossel.[4][5] Just seven years after its discovery, a chemical synthesis starting with 1,3-dimethyluric acid was described by Emil Fischer and Lorenz Ach.[6] The Traube synthesis, an alternative method to synthesize Theophylline has been introduced in 1900 by another German scientist, Wilhelm Traube.[7] Theophylline's first clinical use came in 1902 as diuretic.[8] It took an additional 20 years until its first description in asthma treatment.[9]

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