Safety Issues With Pentoxifylline

Specific Pentoxifylline Precautions and Warnings

Some warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking this drug include the following:
  • If you have been diagnosed with peripheral arterial disease (PAD), you may have fatty deposits (atherosclerosis) in other vessels in the body, including the coronary arteries of the heart and cerebrovascular arteries of the brain. Pentoxifylline has been used safely in patients with these diseases; however, some have experienced chest pain, low blood pressure (hypotension), or an irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia). If you experience any of these problems, contact your healthcare provider immediately.
  • The kidneys remove pentoxifylline from the body. If your kidneys are not functioning properly, this drug may accumulate in the bloodstream, increasing your risk for nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and headaches. If you have kidney disease, your healthcare provider may recommend a lower dosage of this medicine and may monitor your kidney function.
  • If you have been unable to tolerate pentoxifylline or methylxanthines (caffeine, theophylline, theobromine) in the past, you should not take this medication, as it may cause serious harm.
  • It is possible that pentoxifylline may increase the risk for bleeding, including dangerous internal bleeding. This is especially important if you have had recent surgery, peptic ulcer disease, or any other condition that can be complicated by bleeding. You should not use pentoxifylline if you have had bleeding in the brain or retinal bleeding.
  • Few studies have been done in people over the age of 65 taking pentoxifylline. Because the elderly are at risk for decreased kidney function, they have an increased risk for side effects from pentoxifylline. If you are over 65 years old and taking pentoxifylline, be watchful for nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and headaches, and immediately report any of these signs to your healthcare provider.
  • Pentoxifylline may interact with a number of other medications (see Drug Interactions With Pentoxifylline for more information).
  • Pentoxifylline is considered a pregnancy Category C medication. This means that it may not be safe for use during pregnancy, although the full risks are unknown (see Trental and Pregnancy).
  • Pentoxifylline passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start breastfeeding, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Trental and Breastfeeding).
  • Pentoxifylline is not approved for use in children, as it has not been adequately studied in this age group. Talk with your child's healthcare provider about the benefits and risks of using this medication in children.
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Pentoxifylline Drug Information

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