The People's Perspective on Medicine

Pentoxifylline

Overview

This medicine makes blood flow more easily through blood capillaries. It improves red blood cell flexibility so these oxygen-carrying cells can squeeze through small vessels or those that are almost blocked.

Trental is used to treat a leg condition called intermittent claudication, which causes pain upon walking.

Although the FDA has not approved Trental for any other use, doctors sometimes prescribe this medicine for complications of diabetes, sickle cell anemia, Raynaud’s syndrome, hearing problems, mountain sickness, stroke and other conditions where blood flow to the brain is compromised.

Side Effects and Interactions

Side effects associated with Trental are relatively infrequent.  Those that have been reported include dizziness, flushing, stomach upset, flatulence, belching, bloating, loss of appetite, nausea, indigestion, and vomiting.

Other adverse reactions to be aware of are headache, blurred vision, constipation, excessive salivation, tremor, confusion, anxiety, nasal congestion, chest pain, brittle fingernails, rash, itching, bad taste in the mouth, swelling, difficulty breathing, thirst and dry mouth.

Report any symptoms to your physician promptly.

Trental does not interact with many other medications. There have been, however, reports that it may affect blood clotting time, especially in combination with blood thinners such as Coumadin. This could lead to hemorrhaging unless blood is carefully monitored by a test called a prothrombin time.

Blood pressure should also be determined periodically, particularly if you must take antihypertensive medications.

Check with your physician and pharmacist to make sure Trental is safe in combination with any other medicines you may take.

Special Precautions

People who are especially sensitive to caffeine or the closely related asthma drug theophylline may not be able to tolerate Trental.

The doctor should proceed cautiously when prescribing Trental for someone with kidney disease or arteriosclerosis.

Taking the Medicine

Although food may slow the absorption of Trental, it does not reduce the total amount of medicine absorbed into the body.  If this drug upsets your stomach it should be taken with meals.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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Pentoxifylline er
I just recently had some facial surgery done due to an accidental inday jury to my forehead. The Doc put me on this stuff 3x a day for the last 4 weeks. I have suffered the foggy vision and a terrible pain in my leg and groin. I am tapering off to 1 a day every other day as I hear it is not good to get off it immediately. I am having trouble sleeping and the loss of appetite.(don’t) mind that). I am on Nexium and blood pressure meds.
What do you think? This doc just says do as I SAY! I am fed up!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anne

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