Would you like sprinkles with that?
December 18, 2010 10:03 AM   Subscribe

What was this mysterious medication I took as a child?

When I was a child, I had very severe asthma. At one point, when I was 7, I was hospitalized for nearly a month because of a very bad asthma attack. While I was in the hospital and for about two years after, I occasionally had to take a medicine called "Theodore Sprinkles". While I was hospitalized I took it nearly every day as far as I can remember, but after I was released, I only took it sporadically if I had a very bad asthma attack or had bronchitis or something.

The medicine came in a capsule, but rather than just swallowing the capsule, the capsule was broken open and just the contents (small white balls) were eaten. Both the nurses in the hospital and my mother always delivered this medication on a spoonful of something, like jam or applesauce. They tasted very bitter and unpleasant.

The name, "Theodore Sprinkles", obviously doesn't sound real to me. That must have been just the colloquial term for it or something. When I google the term I get lots of forum posts for people who remember taking it, but no actual medical information about the drug like the real name or what class of drug it is or anything. Also, my mother informed me at one point when I was younger that they stopped using this drug because of the side effects. I'd really like to know what these side effects were that caused the drug to be abandoned.

The time period that I would have been taking this drug would have been 1986-1988 or 89. I don't remember ever taking it again after about the age of 9.
posted by katyggls to Health & Fitness (20 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't know about Theodore Sprinkles, but when I was a kid back in the 70s I had very severe asthma. I took a drug called "Quadnirol" --not sure of the spelling.

Had the side effect of extreme anxiety -- I had a resting pulse of about 140 when taking this stuff. Wonder if that was what you took, only in a liquid form.
posted by I'm Brian and so's my wife! at 10:07 AM on December 18, 2010

Sorry for the bad syntax of that last sentence. I should say "Wonder if Theodore Sprinkles is a capsule version of the liquid Quadnirol that I took as a kid"
posted by I'm Brian and so's my wife! at 10:10 AM on December 18, 2010

Probably theophylline granules. A medicine that comes in a capsule but is in granules can often (but not always) be broken open and dispersed in applesauce or pudding so that people with trouble swallowing (or kids) can take it.
posted by cobaltnine at 10:11 AM on December 18, 2010

Response by poster: Inspector, that seems like it could be it but it doesn't make any mention of capsules and the example shown are tablets so I'm not sure.
posted by katyggls at 10:19 AM on December 18, 2010

Theo-24 capsules, maybe?
posted by Gator at 10:26 AM on December 18, 2010

Best answer: Theo-dur sprinkles?
posted by prenominal at 10:27 AM on December 18, 2010

Best answer: I took the exact same thing. Theo-Dur, pretty sure it's discontinued.
posted by Pax at 10:30 AM on December 18, 2010

Best answer: One of the formulations of theophylline is called Theo-Dur Sprinkles.
posted by easy, lucky, free at 10:35 AM on December 18, 2010

Best answer: I agree that it is Theo-dur Sprinkles. It is still on the market but any use of theophylline-based medication is out of favor, so it is rarely used any more. There are numerous other "more modern" medications that provide better relief with fewer side affects.
posted by Old Geezer at 10:37 AM on December 18, 2010

Long time medical transcriptionist here and I well remember patients being prescribed "Theo-Dur Sprinkles," intended to be sprinkled on food in order to aid absorption, I believe.
posted by SweetTeaAndABiscuit at 10:39 AM on December 18, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. Yes Theo-dur seems like it must be the one. I feel somewhat silly because I swear the people around me were saying "Theodore" and not Theo-dur, but hey I was seven!

I'm still a little unclear about what exactly were the side effects of this medication that made it fall out of use but at least now I know the actual name of the drug.
posted by katyggls at 10:59 AM on December 18, 2010

Nausea and agitation are the side effects that I remember.
posted by Pax at 11:05 AM on December 18, 2010

It's fallen out of favor because, as Old Geezer says, there are newer medications which do a better job. Also, theophylline has a very narrow theraputic index, so there are other drugs that are safer and easier to use.
posted by easy, lucky, free at 11:28 AM on December 18, 2010

The Wikipedia entry says "It can also cause nausea, diarrhea, increase in heart rate, arrhythmias, and CNS excitation (headaches, insomnia, irritability, dizziness and lightheadedness)." My assumption is that other drugs came onto the market later that relieved symptoms similarly but without such severe side effects.
posted by bedhead at 11:28 AM on December 18, 2010

I took it too. It is a bastard of a drug. Like taking methamphetamine for nasal congestion.
posted by gjc at 12:59 PM on December 18, 2010

Some people still do take Theodur (if it ain't broke, don't fix it). Also - it is common to hear it pronounced more like Theodore, so you're not crazy.
posted by majikstreet at 4:11 PM on December 18, 2010

I remember that theophylline made my stomach hurt and my heart race.
posted by crankylex at 4:49 PM on December 18, 2010

Are there any other drugs administered in nasty-tasting sprinkle form? I definitely remember having to take something similar in a spoonful of ice cream, but I never had asthma or other respiratory problems.
posted by coppermoss at 5:46 PM on December 18, 2010

Best answer: I asked my dad about this, he's a pediatric allergist. Theophylline is still used in some situations so it's not like it's been "abandoned" because it causes lasting harm. The big problem with theophylline was that it had a very narrow therapeutic range and using it safely required blood tests and a dedicated machine to analyze the patient's theophylline level because everybody metabolized it a little differently.

He told me a story about when one of his patients, a young girl, was hospitalized with an asthma attack and the hospital didn't have anyone who could run the machine to do the test in the middle of the night, so he ran to the hospital to draw blood, came back home to stay with us as my mom ran it to the office at 2 AM to run the theophylline level so they would know how much was safe to give her.

Drugs that require dedicated equipment and technicians fall out of favor pretty quickly once something better is available.
posted by ulotrichous at 2:39 AM on December 19, 2010

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