COVID-19: TOPICAL Theophylline for Loss of Taste & Smell Post-Infection

In the aftermath of COVID-19 infections, many patients experience the loss of taste (hypogeusia) or smell (hyposmia). In some cases, the loss of taste or smell can last months or even longer term.

Theophylline is a drug used for respiratory diseases such as asthma and emphysema. There have been studies recently to see if it can help to improve hyposmia and if there could be different effects between the drug being administered orally or intranasally.

Improved Smell and Taste Dysfunction with Intranasal Theophylline

In a study hosted by The Taste and Smell Clinic in Washington, DC, ninety-four patients with hyposmia were studied before and after treatment of intranasal theophylline twice in each nostril daily for two to 12 months.

Improvement in smell, flavor and taste function was shown in 65% to 80% of patients, with initial improvement occurring after two-four months of treatment. Greater improvement took place as treatment continued.

Overall, Daily use of intranasal theophylline improved smell, taste and flavor perception, with no systemic side effects connected to treatment.

Budesonide irrigation with olfactory training improves outcomes more than olfactory training alone in patients with olfactory loss – PubMed (

In this study, the effects of budesonide irrigation plus olfactory retraining were tested together. 43.9% of patients receiving budesonide irrigation plus olfactory training improved.

Conclusion: There have been two proven treatments to improve hyposmia and hypogeusia

Treatment of intranasal theophylline twice in each nostril daily for a range of two to 12 months can be an effective way to improve hyposmia and hypogeusia.
Treatment of budesonide irrigation with olfactory retraining can be effective for treating post-viral hyposmia.

Health Dimensions provides theophylline and budesonide for irrigation (upon prescription).

Visit our website or call us at (800)836-2303.

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