The effect of aminophylline on human red blood cells (RBC) has been studied. Under in vitro condition, aminophylline alone does not hemolyse RBC. However, in the presence of riboflavin and visible light, aminophylline causes hemolysis of RBC. This hemolysis depends on the concentration of both riboflavin and aminophylline. Using different free radical scavengers we show that RBC hemolysis is caused by reactive oxygen species. Studies using bovine serum albumin show that riboflavin-aminophylline combination can also cause protein degradation in vitro.