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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The bronchodilator effects and pharmacokinetics of caffeine in asthma.

We compared the bronchodilator effects and pharmacokinetics of orally administered caffeine (10 mg per kilogram of body weight) and theophylline (5 mg per kilogram) in a double-blind, single-dose study in asthmatic patients 8 to 18 years of age. After 48 hours of withdrawal of all methylxanthines, 13 patients received caffeine and 10 received theophylline. Significant improvements in forced vital capacity, forced expiratory volume in one second, and forced expiratory flow rates occurred from one to six hours after administration of either caffeine or theophylline. The bronchodilator effect of caffeine did not differ significantly from that of theophylline and was maximal two hours after ingestion of each drug. Peak serum levels of caffeine (13.5 +/- 2.9 mg per liter) occurred at one hour, and peak levels of theophylline (8.4 +/- 1.7 mg per liter) at 2.2 +/- 0.8 hours. The mean serum half-time for caffeine was 3.9 +/- 1.4 hours and that for theophylline was 5.8 +/- 1.7 hours. All patients receiving caffeine metabolized it to paraxanthine, theobromine, and theophylline. Mild, transient side effects were seen after both caffeine and theophylline. Vital signs did not change significantly after either drug. We conclude that caffeine, a commonly available chemical, is an effective bronchodilator in young patients with asthma.[1]


  1. The bronchodilator effects and pharmacokinetics of caffeine in asthma. Becker, A.B., Simons, K.J., Gillespie, C.A., Simons, F.E. N. Engl. J. Med. (1984) [Pubmed]
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