Thursday, June 8, 2023

A female client with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) takes anhydrous theophylline, 200 mg P.O. every 8 hours



A female client with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) takes anhydrous theophylline, 200 mg P.O. every 8 hours.

During a routine clinic visit, the client asks the nurse how the drug works. What is the mechanism of action of anhydrous theophylline in treating a nonreversible obstructive airway disease such as COPD?
  • A. It makes the central respiratory center more sensitive to carbon dioxide and stimulates the respiratory drive.
  • B. It inhibits the enzyme phosphodiesterase, decreasing degradation of cyclic adenosine monophosphate, a bronchodilator.
  • C. It stimulates adenosine receptors, causing bronchodilation.
  • D. It alters diaphragm movement, increasing chest expansion and enhancing the lung’s capacity for gas exchange.

Answer A.

Anhydrous theophylline and other methylxanthine agents make the central respiratory center more sensitive to CO2 and stimulate the respiratory drive. Inhibition of phosphodiesterase is the drug’s mechanism of action in treating asthma and other reversible obstructive airway diseases — not COPD. Methylxanthine agents inhibit rather than stimulate adenosine receptors. Although these agents reduce diaphragmatic fatigue in clients with chronic bronchitis or emphysema, they don’t alter diaphragm movement to increase chest expansion and enhance gas exchange.