Introduction: One of the most important causes of erythropoietin-resistant anemia in end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients is increased levels of inflammatory cytokines. Objectives: In this study pentoxifylline, an anti-inflammatory and anti-cytokine drug, with no significant side effects was used to manage anemia in ESRD patients. Patients and Methods: Thirty-nine ESRD patients with erythropoietin-resistant anemia were assigned to two groups, the treatment and the control groups. In treatment group, 19 patients received erythropoietin, venofer and pentoxifylline for 6 months. Patients in control group received erythropoietin and venofer. Hemoglobin (Hb), hematocrit (Hct), albumin and quantitative C-reactive protein (CRP) were measured at the beginning of the study, monthly and at the end of the study. Results: Hb and Hct were significantly increased in the treatment group (9.33±1.25 g/dL and 28.08±3.88% at baseline; 11.22 ± 1.26 g/dL and 34.02 ± 3.72% at sixth month, P = 0.01), but not in the control group. CRP was significantly decreased in the treatment group but no significant change occurred in the control group. Conclusion: Pentoxifylline is effective in improvement of erythropoietin-resistant anemia in ESRD patients.
Keywords: Anemia; Cytokine; End-stage renal disease; Pentoxifylline.