The relation of product formulation to absorption of oral theophylline

Author(s): Weinberger M, Hendeles L, Bighley L


To assess the potential for therapeutic problems related to the bioavailability of oral theophylline preparations, we examined the rate and extent of absorption for various formulations in adult volunteers. Absorption of theophylline from a solution or from uncoated tablets was rapid and complete. Three of six sustained-release formulations were more slowly, but still completely and consistently, absorbed. Absorption of the other three sustained-release formulations appeared to be more erratic and less complete. Serum concentration-time curves during multiple eight-hour dosing were simulated for the bioavailable preparations. With three sustained-release formulations it was predicted that fluctuations in serum theophylline concentrations between doses would decrease, as compared with uncoated tablets, to a clinically important extent, particularly in children, in whom elimination of theophylline is generally rapid.

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