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Sleep issues and uniphyllin

Anybody got any experience of increasing dose of uniphyllin and then not being able to sleepdedpute being shattered? Any suggestions to mitigate it?

I had my dose increased to 300 mg tablets bd and have gone from having sone issues sleeping to being unable to sleep. I don't have any pther problems that might indicate toxic levels

gp also prescribed zopiclone to try to help me sleep but that's only good for the short term and tbh I am not keen on the side effects nor the impact on my life in general

I am also taking symbicort 400 x2 bd, atrovent x2 4 times daily, singulair, flixonase, ventolin and still not managing to get am or pm pf back to green zone following several viral infections in Nov/Dec

I can't get to the gp again for a couple of days due to work and managing to get to see the same gp - is it worth asking to change the evening dose back to 200, or to take the singulair in the morning? Or is there anything else - eg switching brand to a diff form of theophylline that might help?

Gp wants me to cut the symbicort back to 200x2 bd ASAP but I want to sort this out first

10 Replies


I dont have direct exp of uniphyllin but I am prescribed zopiclone when I am on pred, I have the 3.5 dosage and its not too bad, for me it does not knock me out as its such a low dosage but just makes you relaxed and do manage to sleep even when on 60mg of pred!!

I take it for 2 days then miss one then 2 etc for a max of a week, I find it hard to sleep on the off days and at the end when you stop it but its only one day then you get back into the normal pattern.

For me its a life saver and worth the risk as having no sleep affects your recovery so it might be worth giving it a go.



Hi Kat, Yes I have disturbed sleep when I take Phyllcontin (same med as Uniphyllin) but I really dont know what the answer is. I wake up heart thudding, very alert and feeling a bit sick. I usually get up for a bit and then do manage to get back to sleep. It's not great but on the other hand Phyllcontin does help my asthma - so I guess we're between the devil and the deep blue sea!

300mg is quite a big dose - I used to be on Slo-phyllin which I believe was slow release during the day so it might be worth asking your GP if there is an alternative to Uniphyllin. Strangely, my son is on Nuelin 250mg day and night and he doesnt seem to have any side effects at all.

I'm afraid I dont know what the difference is between all these brands. I've read on the forum that Singulair can cause sleep problems, but again, I dont know what the alternative is.


Thanks for the replies...

300 mg uniphyllin is a larger than usual dose and it's since I have increased to that dose that sleeping has become a real issue - before that I could eventually get to sleep andcqould get some sleep albeit with some waking.... Now I don't really even get that

I have been prescribed 7 mg zopiclone but that doesn't knock me out either - but it does make me drowsy next day and the metallic after taste is horrible - the patient leaflet says you can only take for a max of 4 weeks which is what I've been given but that's not really a solution if the higher dose uniphyllin is the cause as I expect I'll be taking those indefinitely

I guess my best option is to go back to the gp and ask for suggestions....


if I remember I found it hard to sleep when had to increase mine for a while.

Singulair made me have funny dreams .

IT soon settled down and slept ok after.

The nurse told me follow a routine for bed.

ie. bath,drink,read and bed and stick to it a bit till meds settle down xxx


Oh my goodness- this is exactly what I've been struggling with. I am on phyllocontin (and singular) and despite taking them both in the morning I still can't sleep at night. Both times I have tried to reduce the phyllocontin I have spent at least a week in hospital (only got discharged from latest disaster on Saturday). I have been testing out various OTC sleeping remedies, as well as zopiclone. Supposed to take 3.5 mg every other night but even 7 mg fails to knock me out now (especially when pred is in the equation). I have tried all traditional things like baths, exercise, hot drinks, whiskey, port, reading before going to sleep- but nothing really works so I am pretty much exhausted most of the time.

I don't sleep at all when on iv aminophylline (and I have seriously low doses due to all the toxicity issues that I seem to endure on it) but can't understand how, after over a week now of virtually no sleep, and severe respiratory trauma, I still spent last night wide awake with heart feeling like it was going to explode out of my chest.

I really hope someone can come up with some advice on this! Sorry to hear that you are struggling Kat. I hope tonight is slightly more successful for you!



Hi Kat

I wish I had the answer, I have some 7mg ones too but tend not to use them as they do knock me out and I dont like that sensation esp when my asthmas bad as I worry I wont wake up if I need to, but dont think for you they are the answer, they are good with short courses of pred but not a long term solution so maybe have another chat with your gp?

Take care



Thanks for the replies once again...

I need to go back to my gp, but have work commitments at the moment involving early starts and late finishes due to travel, so its difficult to get in to see the GP (I want to see the same one for continuity, rather than having to explain everything from the past couple of months all over again)

Having had a month off work, I am reluctant to take extra time off or not be able to make it to meetings, so for now I have been dropping the evening dose of uniphyllin for a couple of days but monitoring peak flows carefully to make sure no significant decline... I've also cut out caffeine containing stuff from my diet - I get through a lot of coffee and chocolate most days, though I would usually have decaff in the evening anyway

I've been able to get some sleep without taking zopiclone on those days (though it can take ages to drop off), and so I think it proves the Uniphyllin increase is the cause of the sleep problem...

When I do manage to get in for an appt, I'm going to ask about either going back to a slightly lower dose (at least in the evenings) or switching to a different brand of theo to see if it helps, as I did notice an improvement in pf with the higher dose, and do have more symptoms next day if I miss my evening dose

I don't suggest anyone else tries this, but its getting me through at the moment!



I take 200mg of uniphyllin in the morning, and 400mg at night, so I am sleeping on a top dose...and I also take singulair, as I gather this causes some of you issues too. When I first started taking uniphyllin, and again when my dose was increased, I did notice problems sleeping, mostly because it made my heart race. However, after a while this settles and the only problems I have getting to sleep are due to my asthma being a pain :(

I hope this resolves for you too, it may be worthwhile your GP checking your blood theophylline levels if they haven't already done so

Emz x


Hi Kat,

i too am on uniphyllin at more than the recomended dose due to long term tollerance. I take 400mg in the morning and 600mg at night along with singulair. I found that when my dose was first incresed the sleeping was a major issue, even with some night sedation. I do believe it settles down with perseverance (easier said than done, when your exhausted).

But as someone commented already we are 'between the devil, and the deep blue sea'.

I hope you get it sorted asap, and can get a decent kip.

Gil xxx


Hi and thanks again to all who replied...

I've been back to my GP, explained how bad my sleeping was and how it was better without the 300 evening dose, and we have agreed I am going back down to 200 twice a day to see if that works better for me... feels a bit of a pity as I did notice my peak flows pick up a little more on the 300s but I think its for the best for my sleep, my sanity and my kids (tend to get very shouty if I dont sleep :) )

I am still not back to normal - nearly 4 months now - and when I was away with work this week, the cough started creeping back - my boss picked up on it and commented too - I think he was trying to fill time as we were walking across a car park as I was too slow :)

GP also asked if I thought a nebuliser might work better for me - I was a little confused/taken aback as I thought GPs would refer to clinic rather than that? I have declined in any case as I don't know that it would make a difference - I already use a spacer for ventolin and atrovent, and use a symbicort turbohaler so I assume I am getting most of the meds in as intended..

However, at least I am now managing between 5 and 7 hours sleep most nights without sleeping pills and have been back at work for 4 weeks too :)


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