An overview of the methylxanthines and their regulation in the horse

J. Daniel Harkins, W. Allan Rees, George D. Mundy, Scott D. Stanley, Thomas Tobin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Caffeine, theophylline and theobromine are naturally occurring members of the methylxanthine family; pentoxifylline, dyphylline and enprofylline are structurally related synthetic pharmaceuticals. Caffeine has predominantly central nervous system effects, theophylline, dyphylline and enprofylline have predominantly bronchodilator effects, while theobromine is associated with diuretic responses. Pentoxifylline is thought to increase red cell deformability and facilitate blood flow through capillary beds. The methylxanthines are not highly potent agents; they are typically administered in gram doses and they tend to have relatively long plasma half-lives. They remain detectable in plasma and urine for relatively long periods. Similarly, traces of the naturally occurring members of this family are not uncommonly identified in forensic samples. In this review we report on the detection, actions, uses and regularly control of this group of agents in performance horses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-16
Number of pages7
JournalEquine Pratice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Equine


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