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Pentoxifylline

Generic Name: pentoxifylline (pen tox I fi leen)
Brand Name: TRENtal, Pentoxil

Medically reviewed on December 18, 2017

What is pentoxifylline?

Pentoxifylline causes changes in your blood that help improve blood flow. This also helps your blood carry oxygen to your tissues and organs.

Pentoxifylline is used to improve blood flow and reduce certain symptoms of a condition called intermittent claudication (IN-ter-MIT-ent KLOD-ih-KAY-tion). Pentoxifylline is not a cure for this condition.

Pentoxifylline may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important Information

You should not use pentoxifylline if you have recently had any type of bleeding in your brain or the retina of your eye.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use this medicine if you are allergic to pentoxifylline, or if you are allergic to caffeine or theophylline (Elixophyllin, Theo-24, Theo-Dur, Slo-Bid, Theochron, Theolair, Uniphyl, and others).

You also should not use pentoxifylline if you have recently had any type of bleeding in your brain or the retina of your eyes.

To make sure pentoxifylline is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • coronary artery disease (hardened arteries);

  • liver or kidney disease;

  • heart disease;

  • a history of bleeding in your brain or inside your eyes;

  • history of heart attack or stroke;

  • a stomach or intestinal ulcer;

  • if you have recently had surgery;

  • if you are also using theophylline; or

  • if you use medicine to treat or prevent blod clots.

It is not known whether pentoxifylline will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medicine.

Pentoxifylline can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are using pentoxifylline.

How should I take pentoxifylline?

Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take pentoxifylline in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Pentoxifylline is usually taken 3 times each day, with meals. Follow your doctor's instructions.

While using pentoxifylline, you may need frequent blood tests.

Do not crush, chew, or break an extended-release tablet. Swallow it whole.

It may take up to 4 weeks before your symptoms improve. Keep using the medicine as directed and tell your doctor if your symptoms do not improve after 8 weeks of treatment.

Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

Overdose symptoms may include severe drowsiness, agitation, fever, flushing (warmth, redness, or tingly feeling), fainting, or seizure.

What should I avoid while taking pentoxifylline?

Follow your doctor's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.

Pentoxifylline side effects

Stop taking pentoxifylline and get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • chest pain;

  • pounding heartbeats or fluttering in your chest;

  • red or pink urine;

  • a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out; or

  • signs of stomach bleeding--bloody or tarry stools, coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds.

Common side effects may include:

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

Pentoxifylline dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Intermittent Claudication:

400 mg orally 3 times a day. If adverse effects develop, reducing the dose to 400 mg twice a day is recommended.

What other drugs will affect pentoxifylline?

If you also take a blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven), you may need more frequent "INR" or prothrombin time tests to measure your blood-clotting time.

Other drugs may interact with pentoxifylline, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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