Oral methyl-xanthines for bronchiectasis

Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2001;2000(1):CD002734. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD002734.


Background: Bronchiectasis is characterised by chronic sputum production,bronchial wall dilation,recurrent infection and airflow limitation. Methylxanthines are used in the management of airflow limitation associated with asthma and COPD, where they are also purported to have anti-inflammatory properties. In theory they may be of use in bronchiectasis.

Objectives: To determine the efficacy of methylxanthines in the treatment of bronchiectasis.

Search strategy: The Cochrane Airways Group clinical trials register derived from MEDLINE,EMBASE and hand searches using the terms bronchiectasis, aminophylline, theophylline and methyl- xanthine

Selection criteria: Only randomised controlled trials were to be considered.

Data collection and analysis: The results of the searches were reviewed by two authors. Searches yielded seven trials none of which met the inclusion criteria.

Main results: No randomised controlled trials were identified.

Reviewer's conclusions: Further research is required to establish if the methylxanthines have a role in the treatment of bronchiectasis.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Aminophylline / administration & dosage*
  • Bronchiectasis / drug therapy*
  • Bronchodilator Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Theophylline / administration & dosage*


  • Bronchodilator Agents
  • Aminophylline
  • Theophylline