Efficacy of pentoxifylline in the management of microalbuminuria in patients with diabetes

Curr Diabetes Rev. 2008 Feb;4(1):55-62. doi: 10.2174/157339908783502343.


The prevalence of diabetes and its complications is increasing worldwide. Among the microvascular complications, diabetic nephropathy is the most frequent cause of end-stage renal disease. Although angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors have been cited as the first line of therapy for the management of microalbuminuria, the rate of remission from microalbuminuria to normoalbuminuria has been lower than the expected. Furthermore, due to the elevated frequency of side effects of the rennin-angiotensin blockers new approaches for the treatment of microalbuminuria are needed. Pentoxifylline, a xanthine derivate drug with hemorheologic properties and primarily indicated for the therapy of disturbances of blood fluidity, is also an antagonist of adenosine 2 receptors and have anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects, properties that promote beneficial changes in the blood flow conditions and kidney function. Current evidence shows that the short-term use of pentoxifylline has low side-effects, reduces both proteinuria and microalbuminuria in subjects with diabetes, and is as effective as captopril in the reduction of microalbuminuria in non-hypertensive type 2 diabetic patients. Although this data suggests that pentoxifylline could be useful for preventing the development of end-stage renal disease is necessary to conduct long-term studies to evaluate the role of pentoxifylline in the treatment of diabetic nephropathy and the prevention of chronic renal failure. In this article, we review the clinical evidence that show the efficacy of pentoxifylline in the management of microalbuminuria in diabetic patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Albuminuria / drug therapy*
  • Animals
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / drug therapy
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / drug therapy*
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / pathology
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / physiopathology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate
  • Humans
  • Hypertrophy
  • Kidney / pathology
  • Pentoxifylline / therapeutic use*
  • Vasodilator Agents / therapeutic use


  • Vasodilator Agents
  • Pentoxifylline