Use of theophylline in neonates as an aid to ventilator weaning

Christi C. Capers, Earl S. Ward, John E Murphy, Martin L. Job, Patricia A. Land

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Respiratory diseases are major causes of morbidity and mortality in premature neonates. Theophylline has been utilized as an adjunct in facilitating ventilator weaning and in the management of apnea with or without bradycardia. Patient characteristics associated with improved outcome from theophylline have not been determined. The purpose of this study was to evaluate parameters associated with improved outcome in neonates with respiratory diseases receiving theophylline. The study population consisted of premature neonates that were studied retrospectively. Criteria for entry into the study were (1) less than 40 weeks gestation, (2) a diagnosis of respiratory distress syndrome (RDS), apnea of prematurity, hyaline membrane disease (HMD), or bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), (3) dependence on intermittent mandatory ventilation, (4) failure to wean from the ventilator 24 h or more before the study, or (5) receiving theophylline. In this study, we found no correlations between time to wean from the ventilator and postnatal age at the time theophylline was initiated, 5-min APGAR score, and final theophylline serum concentration before complete weaning from the ventilator. However, there were significant negative correlations between birthweight and gestational age with respect to time to wean from the ventilator. The average theophylline serum concentration before weaning from the ventilator for this population of neonates was ∼5–10 μg/ml, indicating that theophylline is not beneficial as an aid to ventilator weaning at serum concentrations

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)461-463
Number of pages3
JournalTherapeutic Drug Monitoring
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1992


  • Neonates
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Theophylline
  • Ventilator

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Pharmacology


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