Medical College of Wisconsin
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Systemic treatment of venous leg ulcers with high doses of pentoxifylline: efficacy in a randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Wound Repair Regen 1999 Jul-Aug;7(4):208-13



Pubmed ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-0032820043   85 Citations


Several small studies have indicated that the systemic administration of pentoxifylline may accelerate healing of venous leg ulcers. The goal of this study was to further evaluate these findings in a larger scale placebo controlled trial and to explore the effect of the dose of pentoxifylline on healing. The study used a prospective, randomized, double-blind, parallel group placebo controlled design in a multicenter outpatient setting. Patients with one or more venous ulcer were enrolled, with all patients receiving standardized compression bandaging for treatment for their ulcers. Patients were also randomized to receive either pentoxifylline 400 mg, pentoxifylline 800 mg (two 400 mg tablets), or placebo tablets three times a day for up to 24 weeks. The main outcome measure was time to complete healing of all leg ulcers, using life table analysis. The study was completed as planned in 131 patients. Patients receiving 800 mg three times a day of pentoxifylline healed faster than placebo (p = 0.043, Wilcoxon test). The median time to complete healing was 100, 83, and 71 days for placebo, pentoxifylline 400 mg, and pentoxifylline 800 mg three times a day, respectively. Over half of all patients were ulcer free at week 16 (placebo) and at week 12 in both pentoxifylline groups. Whereas the placebo group had only achieved complete healing in half of the cases by week 16, all of the subjects remaining in the group receiving the high dose of pentoxifylline had healed completely. Treatment with pentoxifylline was well tolerated with similar drop-out rates in all three treatment groups. Complete wound closure occurred at least 4 weeks earlier in the majority of patients treated with pentoxifylline by comparison to placebo. A higher dose of pentoxifylline (800 mg three times a day) was more effective than the lower dose. We conclude that pentoxifylline is effective in accelerating healing of leg ulcers.

Author List

Falanga V, Fujitani RM, Diaz C, Hunter G, Jorizzo J, Lawrence PF, Lee BY, Menzoian JO, Tretbar LL, Holloway GA, Hoballah J, Seabrook GR, McMillan DE, Wolf W


Gary R. Seabrook MD Chief, Professor in the Surgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Aged, 80 and over
Double-Blind Method
Fibrinolytic Agents
Life Tables
Middle Aged
Prospective Studies
Varicose Ulcer
Wound Healing
jenkins-FCD Prod-468 69a93cef3257f26b866d455c1d2b2d0f28382f14