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December 1993

Pentoxifylline Increases Retinal Capillary Blood Flow Velocity in Patients With Diabetes

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Ophthalmology and Cell Biology, Duke University Medical Center, and Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Durham, NC (Drs Sonkin and Hatchell and Mr Kelly), and Department of Ophthalmology, Hahnemann University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pa (Dr Sinclair). Dr Sonkin is currently a resident in the Department of Ophthalmology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas. The authors have no personal or financial interests in the materials or methods used in this study.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1993;111(12):1647-1652. doi:10.1001/archopht.1993.01090120069024

Objective:  The purpose of this study was to determine whether oral pentoxifylline would improve retinal microvascular hemodynamics and blood rheology in patients with diabetes.

Design:  Patients were enrolled in a double-masked, placebocontrolled trial of pentoxifylline at 2000 mg/d. Retinal capillary blood velocity and leukocyte density, filterability, viscosity, and fibrinogen content were measured by the bluefield entoptic phenomenon simulation, filtration, rotational viscosimetry, and heat precipitation techniques, respectively, before, during, and after drug therapy.

Results:  Treatment with pentoxifylline resulted in a 23.2%, 26.8%, and 37.8% increase in capillary blood flow velocity at 1, 2, and 3 months of therapy, respectively, with a return to pretreatment baseline levels 1 month after cessation of therapy. There were no apparent effects on the remaining variables during treatment.

Conclusion:  Pentoxifylline increases retinal capillary blood flow velocity in patients with diabetes.

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