January 1980

Theophylline Toxicity in Term Infants

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine (Drs E. Simons and Friesen) and the Faculty of Pharmacy (Dr K. Simons), The University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada.

Am J Dis Child. 1980;134(1):39-41. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1980.02130130031009

• The pharmacokinetics of theophylline were studied in 1-month-old term infants who received accidental overdoses of theophylline during treatment for bronchiolitis. Both infants survived without neurologic sequelae. Elimination half-life values of 14.5 and 15.2 hours, respectively, were shorter than reported in premature infants but longer than in infants aged 3 months or older. Caffeine appeared in the sera of both patients, who had not received it in any form. In term infants, elimination of theophylline may occur by N-methylation in contrast to older patients in whom the drug is chiefly eliminated by demethylation and oxidation. Theophylline has not been proved effective for the treatment of bronchiolitis. It should be used with caution for wheezing in very young infants until its pharmacokinetics have been studied further in nontoxic, full-term infants younger than age 3 months.

(Am J Dis Child 134:39-41, 1980)