The study by Staubach and colleagues1 on the use of pentoxifylline in patients with severe sepsis addresses a clinically relevant scenario, and attempts to minimize several of the major problems that have been identified in previous clinical trials. This study involves prospective randomization, use of a very high dose of pentoxifylline to optimize therapeutic potential, and long-term therapy for 28 days or until the patients were discharged from the intensive care unit or died. Many failed immunomodulation trials have used inadequate doses and short courses of therapy, which should not logically be expected to affect outcome owing to the persistence of the underlying disease conditions that initiated the septic state.
Maier RV. Pentoxifylline in Sepsis. Arch Surg. 1998;133(4):466. doi: