Pentoxifylline did not alter blood pressure or plasma IL-6 concentration but did significantly decrease circulating TNF-α and C-reactive protein (CRP) concentrations, a study in the Journal of Hypertension reported. 

To investigate potential cardiovascular benefits, study authors evaluated the effect of pentoxifylline on blood pressure and plasma TNF-α, CRP, and IL-6 by conducting a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. They searched PubMed, ProQuest, Scopus, and EMBASE through September 1, 2015 and identified 15 trials reporting blood pressure or inflammatory markers during pentoxifylline therapy. 

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The eligible studies included 16 treatment arms for analysis. The data did not suggest any effect of pentoxifylline on either systolic or diastolic blood pressure. There was a significant reduction in plasma concentrations of TNF-α (weight mean difference [WDF] –1.03pg/mL, 95% CI: –1.54, –0.51; P<0.001) and CRP (WDF –1.39mg/L, 95% CI: –2.68, –0.10; P=0.034) associated with pentoxifylline treatment; there was no change in plasma IL-6 levels. 

The effect of pentoxifylline on plasma TNF-α levels positively correlated with treatment duration (slope 0.031, 95% CI: 0.004, 0.057; P=0.023) but was independent of pentoxifylline dose (slope –0.0003, 95% CI: –0.002, 0.001; P=0.687).

Pentoxifylline, a xanthine derivative, is used in the treatment of patients with intermittent claudication. Pentoxifylline and its metabolites improve the flow properties of blood by decreasing its viscosity. In patients with chronic peripheral arterial disease, this increases blood flow to the affected microcirculation and enhances tissue oxygenation.

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