Aminophylline is a bronchodilator. Aminophylline works in several ways: it relaxes muscles in your lungs and chest to allow more air in, decreases the sensitivity of your lungs to allergens and other substances that cause inflammation, and increases the contractions of your diaphragm to draw more air into the lungs.
Aminophylline is a type of medicine called a xanthine bronchodilator. It is used to open the airways and aid breathing in lung conditions such as asthma and chronic bronchitis. Once in the body aminophylline is converted to another medicine called theophylline. Theophylline causes the muscles surrounding the airways to relax, by a mechanism that is not fully understood. This allows the airways in the lungs to open.
Aminophylline achieves bronchodilation via different mechanisms than sympathomimetics, and may prove effective when sympathomimetics have been ineffective. In addition to bronchodilation, aminophylline is a respiratory stimulant; it has mild diuretic properties, and positive chronotropic and positive inotropic effects (in large doses). In emergency care, aminophylline is usually administered by slow intravenous infusion. Aminophylline has been reduced to a second-line drug in the emergency setting due to more efficacious agents and controversy over its usefulness; it is used in life-threatening conditions after other agents have proven ineffective.
Aminophylline is a derivative of theophylline, both are methylxanthines and are derived from the group called Xanthines. The drug aminophylline differs somewhat in its structure from theophylline in that it contains ethylenediamine, as well as more molecules of water. Aminophylline tends to be a less potent and shorter acting than theophylline.