Comparison of Caffeine versus Theophylline for apnea of prematurity

Caffeine vs. Theophylline for apnea of prematurity

  • Arif Zulqarnain
  • Muddasser Hussain
  • Khalid Munir Suleri
  • Zafar Ali Ch.
Keywords: Caffeine, Theophylline, Apnea, Infants, Prematurity.


Objective: To make a comparison between standard doses of theophylline and caffeine for the treatment of apnea of prematurity.

Methods: A randomised control trail was conducted in Department of Pediatrics Medicine Govt. Khawaja Muhammad Safdar Medical College and Govt. Allama Iqbal Memorial Teaching Hospital, Sialkot over duration of one year from August 2017 to August 2018 after approval from the hospital ethics committee. An informed consent in the form of written document was also taken from the parents of each infant participating in the study. Data was analyzed by using SPSS version 24. Mean and SD was calculated for numerical data like gestational age and mean concentration of caffeine and theophylline. Frequency and percentages were calculated for categorical data like nasal continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), supplemental oxyen and intrventricular hemorrhage (IVH) grade I. Student t-test was applied in order to determine the significance of results. P value ≤ 0.05 was considered significant.

Results: A total of 100 infants were enrolled in this study. This study was further divided into two equal groups by lottery method i.e. 50% in each, treated with Theophylline and Caffeine respectively. Mean apnea events/day in neonates administrated by theophylline was 1±0.1, 2±0.12, 2±1.1, 1±0.10 and 2±o.12 for 0, 1-3, 4-7, 8-14 and 15-21 days respectively. While, the mean apnea events/day in neonates administrated by Caffeine was 2±0.3, 1±0.22, 2±1.5, 1±0.13 and 2±0.14 for 0, 1-3, 4-7, 8-14 and 15-21 days respectively. The differences were statistically significant for 1-3 days and 4-7 days p<0.05 according to student t test.

Conclusion: Results of our study revealed that caffeine being more effective than Theophylline for treating apnea of prematurity.

How to cite this:
Zulqarnain A, Hussain M, Suleri KM, Ali Ch. Z. Comparison of Caffeine versus Theophylline for apnea of prematurity. Pak J Med Sci. 2019;35(1):113-116. doi:

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