Pharmaceutical ingredient present in prescription bronchodilators (medications designed to open blocked air passageways in the lungs) and present in some cellulite lotions and creams. Aminophylline gained notoriety as an ingredient in cellulite creams as a result of a study published in Obesity Research
(November 1995, Supplemental, pages 561S–568S). The validity of this research was called into question because one of its authors was marketing an aminophylline cream being sold at the time, and thus was not considered an objective investigator. Also, the number of participants in the study was small, and most of them also were dieting and exercising at the same time that they were applying the aminophylline cream (Source: Annals of Pharmacotherapy
, March 1996, pages 292–293).
Doubt about aminophylline’s value also was revealed in research published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (September 1999, pages 1110–1114), which described a double-blind study that compared the effectiveness of three different treatments for cellulite on three separate groups of women. One investigated twice-daily application of aminophylline cream compared with a placebo; another twice-weekly treatment using endermologie (a machine rolled over the skin’s surface, which has been claimed to get rid of cellulite) on one leg and nothing on the other; and a third combining endermologie on both legs with the same cream regimen used by the first group. “No statistical difference existed in measurements between legs for any of the treatment groups…. [Even] the best subjective assessment, by the patients themselves, revealed that only 3 of 35 aminophylline-treated legs and 10 of 35 [e]ndermologie-treated legs [felt] their cellulite appearance improved.” There is no other research showing this to be helpful, and the risk of absorption and bronchial involvement when applied topically remains unclear.