The potential of methylxanthine-based therapies in pediatric respiratory tract diseases

Respir Med. 2016 Mar;112:1-9. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2016.01.022. Epub 2016 Feb 1.


Caffeine, theophylline and theobromine are the most known methylxanthines as they are present in coffee, tea and/or chocolate. In the last decades, a huge experimental effort has been devoted to get insight into the variety of actions that these compounds exert in humans. From such knowledge it is known that methylxanthines have a great potential in prevention, therapy and/or management of a variety of diseases. The benefits of methylxanthine-based therapies in the apnea of prematurity and their translational potential in pediatric affections of the respiratory tract are here presented.

Keywords: Airways; Apnea of prematurity; Asthma; Caffeine; Cough; Theobromine; Theophylline; Xanthine.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Apnea / drug therapy*
  • Asthma / drug therapy*
  • Bronchodilator Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Caffeine / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cough / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Theobromine / therapeutic use
  • Theophylline / analogs & derivatives
  • Theophylline / therapeutic use
  • Xanthines / therapeutic use*


  • Bronchodilator Agents
  • Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors
  • Xanthines
  • methylxanthine
  • Caffeine
  • Theophylline
  • doxofylline
  • Theobromine