Nationwide use of theophylline among adults-A 20-year Danish drug utilisation study

Publication date: July 2018
Source:Respiratory Medicine, Volume 140
Author(s): Daniel Pilsgaard Henriksen, Jesper Rømhild Davidsen, Christian B. Laursen
BackgroundTheophylline, a dimethylxanthine, has been used the last 100 years to treat airway disease. Although it is one of the most widely prescribed medicines to treat asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) throughout the years, the utilisation patterns are not well-described.MethodsUsing the Danish Register of Medicinal Products Statistics, we identified adults above 18 years redeeming one or more prescriptions of theophylline between 1997 up to 2017, with a 2-year run-in period from 1995 to 1997. Using descriptive statistics, we reported the development in prevalence, incidence, and a measure of treatment duration (proportion of patients covered).ResultsIn total, 55,636 individuals redeemed 1,066,475 prescriptions of theophylline, 30,619 women (55%) and 25,017 men (45%). The prevalence decreased from 401 per 100,000 individuals in 1997 to 26 per 100,000 individuals in 2016. The incidence rate decreased throughout the entire study period (105 per 100,000 person-years in 1997 to 5 per 100,000 person-years in 2016). In total, 52% were still current users three months after theophylline initiation, 33%, 27%, and 23% were current users after 6 months, one year, and two years.ConclusionsAlthough newer and more efficient medicines to treat asthma and COPD has been developed, theophylline is still prescribed and used in 2016, but the incidence and prevalence have decreased markedly since 1997.