Int J Sports Med 2010; 31(4): 231-236
DOI: 10.1055/s-0030-1247592
Physiology & Biochemistry

© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Comparative Effects of Caffeine and Albuterol on the Bronchoconstrictor Response to Exercise in Asthmatic Athletes

T. A. VanHaitsma1 , T. Mickleborough2 , J. M. Stager2 , D. M. Koceja2 , M. R. Lindley3 , R. Chapman2
  • 1University of Utah, Exercise and Sports Science, Salt Lake City, United States
  • 2Indiana University, Kinesiology, Blooomington, United States
  • 3Loughborough University, Sport, Exercise and Health Science, Loughborough, United Kingdom
Further Information

Publication History

accepted after revision December 30, 2009

Publication Date:
10 February 2010 (online)


The main aim of this study was to evaluate the comparative and additive effects of caffeine and albuterol (short-acting β2-agonist) on the severity of EIB. Ten asthmatic subjects with EIB (exercise-induced bronchoconstriction) participated in a randomized, double-blind, double-dummy crossover study. One hour before an exercise challenge, each subject was given 0, 3, 6, or 9 mg/kg of caffeine or placebo mixed in a flavored sugar drink. Fifteen minutes before the exercise bout, an inhaler containing either albuterol (180 μg) or placebo was administered to each subject. Pulmonary function tests were conducted pre- and post-exercise. Caffeine at a dose of 6 and 9 mg/kg significantly reduced (p<0.05) the mean maximum % fall in post-exercise FEV1 to −9.0±9.2% and −6.8±6.5% respectively compared to the double-placebo (−14.3±11.1%) and baseline (−18.4±7.2%). There was no significant difference (p>0.05) in the post-exercise % fall in FEV1 between albuterol (plus caffeine placebo) (−4.0±5.2%) and the 9 mg/kg dose of caffeine (−6.8±6.5%). Interestingly, there was no significant difference (p>0.05) in the post-exercise % fall in FEV1 between albuterol (plus caffeine placebo) (−4.0±5.2%) and albuterol with 3, 6 or 9 mg/kg of caffeine (−4.4±3.8, −6.8±5.6, −4.4±6.0% respectively). Similar changes were observed for the post-exercise % fall in FVC, FEF25–75% and PEF. These data indicate that moderate (6 mg/kg) to high doses (9 mg/kg) of caffeine provide a significant protective effect against EIB. It is feasible that the negative effects of daily use of short-acting β2-agonists by asthmatic athletes could be reduced simply by increasing caffeine consumption prior to exercise.



Dr. Timothy Mickleborough

Indiana University Kinesiology

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United States

Phone: 812-855-0753

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