Treatment of COVID-19 with pentoxifylline: Could it be a potential adjuvant therapy?

Dermatol Ther. 2020 Jul;33(4):e13733. doi: 10.1111/dth.13733. Epub 2020 Jun 26.


The world is facing a viral pandemic of a new coronavirus called COVID-19. Pentoxifylline is a methyl-xanthine derivative and it inhibits the phosphodiesterase IV (PDE IV). This drug is known for its unique features as an immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory agent, also it could have antiviral affects. This is a scoping review, in which all related articles on COVID-19 and the probable benefits of Pentoxifylline against COVID-19 pathogenesis, in Medline, Scopus, Web of Sciences, and Google Scholar up to 20 March 2020 with proper keywords including: pentoxifylline, Pentoxil, COVID-19, coronavirus, treatment, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, antifibrosis, oxygenation, circulation, bronchodilator, ARDS, and organ failure. We found many confirmatory data on proper efficacy of pentoxifylline on controlling COVID-19 and its consequences. The antiviral, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative, immune-modulatory, bronchodilator and respiratory supportive effects and protective roles in organ failures of PTX, along with its main functions means better circulation-oxygenation properties, low price and safety, make it a promising drug to be considered for COVID-19 treatment, especially as an adjuvant therapy in combination with other drugs.

Keywords: ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome); COVID-19; Pentoxil; SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome); anti-inflammatory; anti-oxidant; antifibrosis; apoptosis-regulatory; bronchodilator; circulation, coronavirus; immunomodulatory; oxygenation; pentoxifylline; perfusion; review; treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • COVID-19 Drug Treatment
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Coronavirus Infections / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • Pentoxifylline / therapeutic use*
  • Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / drug therapy*
  • SARS-CoV-2


  • Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors
  • Pentoxifylline