Theophylline affects sleep-wake state development in premature infants

E. B. Thoman, D. H. Davis, J. R. Raye, Anthony F Philipps, J. C. Rowe, V. H. Denenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


This study investigated the prolonged effects on state behavior of theophylline administered to infants for apnea of prematurity. There were three groups: Four premature infants who had received theophylline in the preterm period, five premature infants who had not received theophylline, and twenty-eight normal fullterm infants. The theophylline infants had been off the drug for at least one month prior to the beginning of the study. Sleep-wake states were observed in the home of seven-hour periods when all infants were the same corrected ages: two, three, four and five weeks postterm. Data from the portion of the day that the infants were alone were analysed for this study. The state organization of the theophylline group differed significantly from those of the other groups. They exhibited more non-alert waking activity, more alert, more drowse or transition, and less active sleep than did the Non-Theophylline and Fullterm infants. The state distributions of the latter two groups did not differ. On the basis of similarities between the results of this study and of a previous animal study, it was concluded that theophylline altered the normal development of state organization in premature infants. These effects persisted long after the drug had cleared the body.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-18
Number of pages6
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1985
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Neurology


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