Aminofilin – Use | Dose | Side Effects

Aminofilin (also known as Aminophylline) is a drug from the group of medicines called bronchodilators. This medicine is classified as a xanthine based on the chemical structure. It works by expanding the airways and making it easier to breathe. Therefore, it is used in the treatment of many respiratory diseases such as:

  1. asthma,
  2. bronchitis (including a reversible obstructive airways disease),
  3. emphysema,
  4. exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (narrowing of the bronchi),
  5. Cheyne-Stokes respiration and others.


It should be avoided or may be used only with extra precautions in the following conditions:

  • Fluid in the lungs.
  • If you have thyroid gland disorders.
  • Epilepsy.
  • Kidney disorders.
  • If you have liver disorders.

Dosage forms include:

  1. sustained release tablets,
  2. injections and infusions.

Injections should be used only in health facilities. If you are using Aminofilin tablets, keep in mind that these tablets do not work immediately and cannot stop asthma attack immediately! You have to use other fast-acting medicines to stop an asthma attack.

It should be avoided in patients allergic to this or other similar substances, such as:

  • theophylline,
  • caffeine (found in coffee and tea).

If you are experiencing symptoms of an allergy, such as:

  • itching,
  • swelling,
  • difficulty breathing, contact your doctor immediately.

If you have high blood pressure (hypertension), your doctor will recommend you to frequently check your blood pressure while using Aminofilin tablet or injection.


If you are planning surgery, inform your doctor that you are using Aminofilin.

Use during pregnancy and lactation

According to US Agency for Food and Drug Administration, Aminofilin belongs to the group C (FDA: Group C). This means that animal studies have shown adverse effects on fetus, but there are no studies on humans. It should be used during pregnancy only if the benefit to the mother outweighs the risk to the child.

Aminofilin passes into breast milk, therefore it is recommended to avoid breastfeeding while using Aminofilin tablets or injections.

How to use

Aminofilin may be used as injection,  as a tablet at a dose of 100 mg as well as a sustained release tablet at a dose of 350 mg. The dose should be determined on the basis of patient’s body weight and severity of the condition. The dose should be reduced in the elderly and children. The dose should be increased in smokers (350 mg three times a day-every 8 hours). The dose should also be increased in alcoholics.

The usual dose is 350 mg twice a day (every 12 hours, preferably in the morning and evening) with food. It is recommended to take Aminofilin after a meal, to avoid upset stomach.

You will need to stop smoking in order to achieve desired effect.

Tablets should be taken with a glass of water, once or twice a day. It is very important to take Aminophylline tablets always at the same time of the day in order to maintain an ideal level of aminophylline in the blood (10-20 mg/L). Do not crush or chew the tablet as this may hamper its efficacy.

Aminofilin should be avoided in children below the age of 3.

Injection or infusion should be administered in health facilities. Usual dose is 250 mg-1000 mg daily. Aminofilin can be administered intramuscularly or intravenously.


Symptoms of an overdose include:

  1. nausea,
  2. vomiting,
  3. diarrhea,
  4. heart disorders,
  5. severe headache,
  6. insomnia and others. Tell your doctor if you are experiencing any of abovementioned symptoms.

Use with other medicines (Interactions)

Aminofilin should be avoided in combination with the following medicines:

  • Medicines used to treat high blood pressure, angina pectoris or arrhythmia such as:
    • propranolol,
    • verapamil (Izopamil),
    • propafenone and others. These medicines may increase the effect of tablets or injections.
  • Antibiotics, used to treat bacterial infections such as:
    • erythromycin,
    • clarithromycin,
    • telithromycin,
    • azithromycin. These medicines may increase the effect of tablets or injections, thereby increasing the risk of side effects.
  • Dislufiram, used to treat alcohol withdrawal. Concomitant use of Aminophylline with this medicine increases the risk of Aminofilin side effects.
  • Methotrexate, used against cancer. Concomitant use of Aminophylline with this medicine increases the risk of side effects.
  • Oral contraceptives.
  • Fluvoxamine, used in treatment of depression, social phobia and other mental disorders. Concomitant use of Aminofilin with this medicine, increases the level of Aminofilin in your blood, therefore increasing the risk of side effects.
  • Medicines used to treat epilepsy, such as:
    • carbamazepine,
    • phenytoin,
    • phenobarbital and others. Concomitant use with these medicines decreases the level of Aminofilin in the blood, so it is necessary to increase the dose of Aminofilin.

Aminofilin may affect laboratory test results.

Avoid the use of alcoholic beverages, since alcohol may increase the effect of this drug. Avoid excessive use of grilled food, because these foods may change the effect of Aminofilin. Tell your doctor if you are following a diet.

Side effects

Aminofilin may cause the following side effects:

  1. nausea,
  2. vomiting,
  3. diarrhea,
  4. abdominal pain,
  5. seizure,
  6. arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat),
  7. headache,
  8. dizziness,
  9. mood changes,
  10. tremor,
  11. allergy and others.

Tell your doctor if you are experiencing any of abovementioned side effects.


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