Inhaled long-acting B2 agonist superior to oral sustained-release theophylline in nocturnal asthma

Original article


Mohammad H. Zew

Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Garyounis University, Benghazi, Libya

JMJ Vol. 2, No. 3 (March 2003): 58-60


Objective: to compare the effect of formoterol, along acting B2 agonist and sustained- release oral theophylline in the management of nocturnal asthma. Design: randomized clinical trial in parallel groups for 6 week.
Subjects: 74 patients with persistent asthma whose nocturnal symptoms persist in spite of inhaled corticosteroids. Randomized in two treatment groups at 1:1 ratio. Intervention formoterol (foradil, novartis) 12µg twice daily or oral theophylline (phyllocontin, Mundipharm) 225mg twice daily. Results: control of nocturnal symptoms in the two groups was not significantly different. Improvement in night symptom score was 40.6% in formoterol group vs. 35.9% theophylline group (P>0.05). Formoterol produced significantly better control of early morning symptoms. The early morning symptom score decreased by 40.3%in formoterol group vs. 19.2% in theophylline group (P<0.005). Significantly larger increase in the mean morning PEFR was noted in formoterol group (85L/min or 23.7%) as compared to theophylline in the management of nocturnal asthma. In addition to controlling night symptoms, it improves overnight PEFR and early morning symptoms. Theophylline is a reasonable alternative for patients who are intolerant of long- acting B-agonist. Keywords: Asthma, B2 Agonist, Theophylline Link/DOI: