Before the advent of modern medications for asthma common remedies were used for the managements of asthma. One such therapy was giving strong tea or coffee to asthmatics who wheeze and have breathing difficulties. Most asthma victims stopped wheezing when they drank strong tea or coffee. Even today this therapy is followed and is many times more effective than modern medicines for asthma. Many scientists and drug companies studied this in detail and discovered a caffeine-like drug called theo-phylline, which alleviated acute asthma. Many patients with asthma experienced relief after receiving an intravenous injection of Theophylline which relaxes bronchial muscle and increases heart muscle contractility. Theiphylline belongs to xanthene family which is found in tea though in trace amounts.
Theophylline is one of the first major drugs used for the treatment of asthma. Subsequently three in one drugs were developed for asthma and were in use for many decades. A new oral medication called Tedral, which was a combination of three drugs in one tablet: theophylline, ephedrine and Phenobarbital was developed. This new combination drug was the mainstay of asthma therapy until 1980. Changing USFDA regulations invalidated such fixed dosage drugs like Tedral as patients may need different dosages of theophyliine, ephedrine and Phenobarbital. .
Theophyliine intake for management of asthma is like overdose of coffee and has same side effects as extra intake of coffee. About ten percent of theophylline users will develop nausea, loss of appetite, or even vomiting. Some children may become hyperactive or even attention deficiency and learning disorders. There are more than thirty different theophylline drugs and combinations available for asthma therapy. Apart from Tedralo. The other theophylline combination drugs are Marax a drug that substitutes the drug hydroxizine for phenobarbital. It is a combination of theophylline, ephedra, and hydroxyzine. Marax is still preferred by many patients who cannot tolerate pure theophylline drugs. It is no longer being manufactured in the US.