Randomised, double blind placebo controlled trial of pentoxifylline in the treatment of venous leg ulcers

BMJ. 1999 Oct 2;319(7214):875-8. doi: 10.1136/bmj.319.7214.875.


Objective: To determine whether pentoxifylline 400 mg (Trental 400) taken orally three times daily, in addition to ambulatory compression bandages and dressings, improves the healing rate of pure venous ulcers.

Design: Randomised, double blind placebo controlled trial, parallel group study of factorial design, permitting the simultaneous evaluation of alternative pharmaceutical, bandaging, and dressings materials.

Setting: Leg ulcer clinics of a teaching and a district general hospital in southern Scotland.

Participants: 200 patients with confirmed venous ulcers and in whom other major causal factors were excluded.

Interventions: Pentoxifylline 400 mg three times daily or placebo.

Main outcome measure: Complete healing (full epithelialisation) of all ulcers on the trial leg.

Results: Complete healing occurred in 65 of the 101 (64%) patients receiving pentoxifylline and 52 of the 99 (53%) patients receiving placebo.

Conclusions: The difference in the healing rates between patients taking pentoxifylline and those taking placebo did not reach statistical significance.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Hematologic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Leg Ulcer / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pentoxifylline / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Wound Healing


  • Hematologic Agents
  • Pentoxifylline