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(organic chemistry)
C7H8N4O2·H2O Alkaloid from tea leaves; bitter-tasting white crystals slightly soluble in water and alcohol, melts at 272°C; used in medicine.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(1,3-dimethylxanthine), an alkaloid of the group of urines; small quantities are found in tea leaves. In pharmacological activity, theophylline is similar to theobromine, from which it differs in its more pronounced diuretic action. Theophylline dilates the blood vessels of the heart and the bronchial musculature and excites the central nervous system. It is prescribed internally, in powder form, and rectally, as suppositories. It is a constituent of Teofedrin and other compound preparations. It is obtained by chemical synthesis from dimethylurea and ethyl cyanoacetate.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.