The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

1995 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

Intermittent Regular Treatment of Moderate to Severe Asthma with Theophylline Is Beneficial.

Ali Emad MD. Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz,Iran.

BACKGROUND: Asthma is a chronic inflammation of the lower airways that can be severe and even fatal. l studied 120 patients with moderate to severe asthma (defined by the ATS) to test whether the addition of regular intermittent theophylline to a regimen of beclomethasone and b-2 agonist would significantly affect FEV_1, PEFR and rate of hospital admission.

Methods: Subjects of both genders, aged 18 to 60 yearswere randomized to 1 of 3 groups each with n = 40. Group 1 was given inhaled beclomethasone (500 mg daily) and short-acting inhaled b-2 agonists as needed 3-4 times/day. Group 2 received drugs as Group 1 and a placebo. Group 3 received drugs as Groups 1 and 2 and theophylline (250 mg qod, hs). FEV1 and PEFR was measured on all patients before and after study and the number of hospital admissions due to severe attacks of asthma during the previous 6 months and after the study were calculated.

Results: Mean (SD) FEV_1 and PEFR at the beginning of the study were 1.35 ± 0.025 L and 3.02 ± 0.078 L/s, Group 1; 1.32 ± 0.034 L and 2.91 ± 0.085 L/s, Group 2; and 1.31 ± 0.035 L and 2.87 ± 0.087 L/s, Group 3. After 6 months these values were 1.51 ± 0.039 L and 3.29 ± 0.064 L/s, Group 1; 1.49 ± 0.035 L and 3.12 ± 0.064 L/s, Group 2; and 1.82 ± 0.028 L and 4.06 ± 0.093L/s, Group 3. The values for both these variables were significantly improved after study (ANCOVA, p = 0.001). Total numbers of hospital admissions before vs after the study were 17 vs 14, 20 vs 18, and 12 vs 4 for Groups 1, 2, and 3, respectively. No significant difference in total number of the hospital admissions among the 3 groups was found prior to study (ANCOVA, p = 0.188). After the study, Group 3's hospital admissions significantly declined compared to Groups 1 and 2 (ANCOVA, p = 0.0017).

Conclusions: Intermittent regular use of theophylline may benefit patients with moderate to severe chronic asthma.

OF-95-057

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