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Pentoxifylline xtal 2005 ball-and-stick.png
Clinical data
Pronunciation /ˌpɛntɒkˈsɪfɪln, -ɪn/
Trade names Many names worldwide[1]
Synonyms oxpentifylline (former AAN)[2]
AHFS/ Monograph
MedlinePlus a685027
License data
  • AU: B1
  • US: C (Risk not ruled out)
Routes of
By mouth
ATC code
Legal status
Legal status
Pharmacokinetic data
Bioavailability 10–30%[3]
Metabolism Hepatic and via erythrocytes
Elimination half-life 0.4–0.8 hours (1–1.6 hours for active metabolite)[3]
Excretion Urine (95%), faeces (<4%)[3]
CAS Number
PubChem CID
ECHA InfoCard 100.026.704 Edit this at Wikidata
Chemical and physical data
Formula C13H18N4O3
Molar mass 278.31 g/mol
3D model (JSmol)

Pentoxifylline, also known as oxpentifylline, is a xanthine derivative used as a drug to treat muscle pain in people with peripheral artery disease.[4] It is generic and sold under many brand names worldwide.[1]

Medical uses[edit]

Its primary use in medicine is to reduce pain, cramping, numbness, or weakness in the arms or legs which occurs due to intermittent claudication, a form of muscle pain resulting from peripheral artery diseases.[4][needs update] This is its only FDA, MHRA and TGA-labelled indication.[2][5][6] However, pentoxifylline is also recommended for use off license as an adjunct to compression bandaging for the treatment of chronic venous leg ulcers by SIGN[7] as this has been shown to improve healing rates[8].

Pentoxifylline has also been shown to be of benefit in alcoholic hepatitis, with some studies demonstrating a reduction in risk of hepatorenal sydrome.

Adverse effects[edit]

Common side effects are belching, bloating, stomach discomfort or upset, nausea, vomiting, indigestion, dizziness, and flushing. Uncommon and rare side effects include angina, palpitations, hypersensitivity, itchiness, rash, hives, bleeding, hallucinations, arrhythmias, and aseptic meningitis.[3][2][5][6]

Contraindications include intolerance to pentoxifylline or other xanthine derivatives, recent retinal or cerebral haemorrhage, and risk factors for haemorrhage.[3]


Like other methylated xanthine derivatives, pentoxifylline is a competitive nonselective phosphodiesterase inhibitor[9] which raises intracellular cAMP, activates PKA, inhibits TNF[10][11] and leukotriene [12] synthesis, and reduces inflammation and innate immunity.[12] In addition, pentoxifylline improves red blood cell deformability (known as a haemorrheologic effect), reduces blood viscosity and decreases the potential for platelet aggregation and thrombus formation.[13] Pentoxifylline is also an antagonist at adenosine 2 receptors.[14]

Effect on seizure[edit]

In a study, the effect of pentoxifylline as a phosphodiestrase inhibitor was study on the pentylenetetrazol-induced seziure in the wild-type mice. Pentoxifylline in that study reduced the anti-convulsive effect of H-89 and reduced the seizure threshold.[15]


There is some evidence that pentoxifyllinenon can lower the levels of some biomarkers in non-alcoholic steatohepatitis but evidence is insufficient to determine if the drug is safe and effective for this use.[16] Animal studies have been conducted exploring the use of pentoxifylline for erectile dysfunction[17] and hearing loss.[18] Human studies have been conducted for Peyronie's disease.[19]

Pentoxifylline, in combination with tocopherol and clodronate, has been found to heal refractory osteoradionecrosis of the jaw, [20] and to be prophylactic against osteoradionecrosis. [21]

In a Cochrane systematic review on the use of Pentoxifylline for intermittent claudications in 2015, the following was concluded "The quality of included studies was generally low, and very large variability between studies was noted in reported findings including duration of trials, doses of pentoxifylline and distances participants could walk at the start of trials. Most included studies did not report on randomisation techniques or how treatment allocation was concealed, did not provide adequate information to permit judgement of selective reporting and did not report blinding of outcome assessors. Given all these factors, the role of pentoxifylline in intermittent claudication remains uncertain, although this medication was generally well tolerated by participants".[22]

Furthermore, in a 2014 Cochrane systematic review, "Cilostazol a selective inhibitor of phosphodiesterase type 3 (PDE3) has been shown to be of benefit in improving walking distance in people with intermittent claudication secondary to PAD. Although there is an increase in adverse side effects, they are generally mild and treatable. There is currently insufficient data on whether taking cilostazol results in a reduction of all-cause mortality and cardiovascular events or an improvement in quality of life".[23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b international listings for Pentoxifylline. Page accessed Feb 1, 206
  2. ^ a b c "PRODUCT INFORMATION TRENTAL® 400" (PDF). TGA eBusiness Services. sanofi-aventis australia pty limited. 25 March 2010. Retrieved 3 February 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Trental, Pentoxil (pentoxifylline) dosing, indications, interactions, adverse effects, and more". Medscape Reference. WebMD. Retrieved 3 February 2014.
  4. ^ a b Salhiyyah K, Senanayake E, Abdel-Hadi M, Booth A, Michaels JA (2012). "Pentoxifylline for intermittent claudication". The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 1: CD005262. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD005262.pub2. PMID 22258961.
  5. ^ a b "PENTOXIFYLLINE tablet, extended release [Apotex Corp.]". DailyMed. Apotex Corp. February 2013. Retrieved 3 February 2014.
  6. ^ a b "Trental 400 - Summary of Product Characteristics (SPC)". electronic Medicines Compendium. Sanofi. 10 October 2013. Retrieved 3 February 2014.
  7. ^ SIGN (2010) Management of chronic venous leg ulcers. Clinical guideline No. 120. Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network. ISBN 978-1-905813-66-7
  8. ^ Jull, Andrew B; Arroll, Bruce; Parag, Varsha; Waters, Jill (2012). "Pentoxifylline for treating venous leg ulcers". Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD001733.pub3. ISSN 1465-1858.
  9. ^ Essayan DM (2001). "Cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterases". The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 108 (5): 671–80. doi:10.1067/mai.2001.119555. PMID 11692087.
  10. ^ Deree J, Martins JO, Melbostad H, Loomis WH, Coimbra R (2008). "Insights into the regulation of TNF-alpha production in human mononuclear cells: the effects of non-specific phosphodiesterase inhibition". Clinics. 63 (3): 321–8. doi:10.1590/S1807-59322008000300006. PMC 2664230. PMID 18568240.
  11. ^ Marques LJ, Zheng L, Poulakis N, Guzman J, Costabel U (1999). "Pentoxifylline inhibits TNF-alpha production from human alveolar macrophages". American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. 159 (2): 508–11. doi:10.1164/ajrccm.159.2.9804085. PMID 9927365.
  12. ^ a b Peters-Golden M, Canetti C, Mancuso P, Coffey MJ (2005). "Leukotrienes: underappreciated mediators of innate immune responses". Journal of Immunology. 174 (2): 589–94. doi:10.4049/jimmunol.174.2.589. PMID 15634873.
  13. ^ Ward A, Clissold SP (1987). "Pentoxifylline. A review of its pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic properties, and its therapeutic efficacy". Drugs. 34 (1): 50–97. doi:10.2165/00003495-198734010-00003. PMID 3308412.
  14. ^ Rodríguez-Morán M, Guerrero-Romero F (2008). "Efficacy of pentoxifylline in the management of microalbuminuria in patients with diabetes". Current Diabetes Reviews. 4 (1): 55–62. doi:10.2174/157339908783502343. PMID 18220696.
  15. ^ Hosseini-Zare MS, Salehi F, Seyedi SY, Azami K, Ghadiri T, Mobasseri M, Gholizadeh S, Beyer C, Sharifzadeh M (2011). "Effects of pentoxifylline and H-89 on epileptogenic activity of bucladesine in pentylenetetrazol-treated mice". European Journal of Pharmacology. 670 (2–3): 464–70. doi:10.1016/j.ejphar.2011.09.026. PMID 21946102.
  16. ^ Li W, Zheng L, Sheng C, Cheng X, Qing L, Qu S (2011). "Systematic review on the treatment of pentoxifylline in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease". Lipids in Health and Disease. 10: 49. doi:10.1186/1476-511X-10-49. PMC 3088890. PMID 21477300.
  17. ^ Anele, U. A.; Morrison, B. F.; Burnett, A. L. (2015). "Molecular pathophysiology of priapism: Emerging targets". Current drug targets. 16 (5): 474–83. PMC 4430197. PMID 25392014.
  18. ^ Latoni, J.; Shivapuja, B.; Seidman, M. D.; Quirk, W. S. (May 1996). "Pentoxifylline maintains cochlear microcirculation and attenuates temporary threshold shifts following acoustic overstimulation". Acta Oto-Laryngologica. 116 (3): 388–94. doi:10.3109/00016489609137862. PMID 8790737. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
  19. ^ El-Sakka, A. I. (2011). "Reversion of penile fibrosis: Current information and a new horizon". Arab Journal of Urology. 9 (1): 49–55. doi:10.1016/j.aju.2011.03.013. PMC 4149188. PMID 26579268.
  20. ^ Delanian, S., Chatel, C., Porcher, R., Depondt, J. and Lefaix, J.L., 2011. Complete restoration of refractory mandibular osteoradionecrosis by prolonged treatment with a pentoxifylline-tocopherol-clodronate combination (PENTOCLO): a phase II trial. International Journal of Radiation Oncology* Biology* Physics, 80(3), pp.832-839.
  21. ^ Patel, V., Gadiwalla, Y., Sassoon, I., Sproat, C., Kwok, J. and McGurk, M., 2016. Prophylactic use of pentoxifylline and tocopherol in patients who require dental extractions after radiotherapy for cancer of the head and neck. British Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, 54(5), pp.547-550.
  22. ^ Salhiyyah, Kareem; Forster, Rachel; Senanayake, Eshan; Abdel-Hadi, Mohammed; Booth, Andrew; Michaels, Jonathan A (2015-09-29). "Pentoxifylline for intermittent claudication". Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (9). doi:10.1002/14651858.cd005262.pub3. ISSN 1465-1858.
  23. ^ Bedenis, Rachel; Stewart, Marlene; Cleanthis, Marcus; Robless, Peter; Mikhailidis, Dimitri P.; Stansby, Gerard (2014). "Cilostazol for intermittent claudication". Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (10). doi:10.1002/14651858.CD003748.pub4. ISSN 1465-1858.

External links[edit]