Intravenous theophylline therapy: nomogram guidelines

Ann Intern Med. 1977 Apr;86(4):400-4. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-86-4-400.


We evolved a nomogram for guiding and standardizing intravenous theophylline therapy in hospitalized patients. It provides rapid calculation of a loading dose based on body weight and previous therapy and a maintenance infusion rate related to three categories of expected metabolic activity. The guidelines were prospectively used in the treatment of 72 patients, mainly in a respiratory care unit. The nomogram was successfully used to attain near-steady-state serum concentrations in the therapeutic range of 8 to 20 mg/litre in 72% of patients, with only two patients outside of the range of 5 to 25 mg/litre. These guidelines facilitate initial theophylline dosage in older patients with liver and cardiac disease and provide a rational basis for interpreting serum concentration measurements and adjustment of drug therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Body Weight
  • Female
  • Heart Diseases / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Liver Diseases / drug therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New York
  • Reference Values
  • Respiratory Care Units
  • Theophylline / administration & dosage*
  • Theophylline / blood


  • Theophylline