We're unable to sign you in at this time. Please try again in a few minutes.
We were able to sign you in, but your subscription(s) could not be found. Please try again in a few minutes.
There may be a problem with your account. Please contact the AMA Service Center to resolve this issue.
Contact the AMA Service Center:
Telephone: 1 (800) 262-2350 or 1 (312) 670-7827  *   Email: subscriptions@jamanetwork.com
Error Message ......
Article |

Effect of Theophylline on Erythrocytosis in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Ran Oren, MD; Maurit Beeri, MD; Ayala Hubert, MD; Mordechai R. Kramer, MD; Yaacov Matzner, MD
Arch Intern Med. 1997;157(13):1474-1478. doi:10.1001/archinte.1997.00440340114011.
Text Size: A A A
Published online


Background:  Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) tend to develop secondary erythrocytosis to compensate for their chronic hypoxia. Theophylline has recently been shown to reduce hematocrit and erythropoietin blood levels in normal subjects and in patients with erythrocytosis after renal transplantation.

Objective:  To determine whether theophylline may be used to lower the hematocrit in patients with COPD.

Methods:  Two hundred four patients with COPD were studied retrospectively and 10 patients prospectively (8 starting treatment with the drug [group 1] and 2 who suspended its long-term use [group 2]) for the correlation between theophylline therapy and hematocrit and erythropoietin level.

Results:  In the patients studied retrospectively, lower hematocrits were found in the theophylline-treated than in the untreated patients (0.43±0.006 vs 0.46±0.007, respectively; P<.002). Twelve untreated patients and 2 of those treated with theophylline had hematocrits above 52%. Oxygen saturation levels were similar in both groups, and exclusion of patients with oxygen saturation lower than 88% did not change the pattern, suggesting that the effect of theophylline could not be entirely explained by improved oxygen availability. Seven of the 8 patients studied prospectively in group 1 (P<.02) and the 2 patients in group 2 showed inverse correlations between hematocrits and theophylline administration. A similar pattern was observed with serum erythropoietin levels in 5 of 7 patients studied. The effects were reproducible on rechallenge in 3 of the 4 patients in group 1 and the 2 patients in group 2.

Conclusions:  Theophylline may have a beneficial effect in treatment and prevention of erythrocytosis in patients with COPD.Arch Intern Med. 1997;157:1474-1478


Sign in

Purchase Options

• Buy this article
• Subscribe to the journal
• Rent this article ?





Also Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
Please click the checkbox indicating that you have read the full article in order to submit your answers.
Your answers have been saved for later.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.


Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

11 Citations

Sign in

Purchase Options

• Buy this article
• Subscribe to the journal
• Rent this article ?

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.