August 18, 2015
1 min read

Pentoxifylline may benefit patients with severe acute pancreatitis

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A recent pilot trial demonstrated that pentoxifylline was well tolerated and improved outcomes in patients with severe acute pancreatitis.

Aiming to determine the safety and efficacy of pentoxifylline in patients with severe acute pancreatitis, researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., performed a double-blind, randomized controlled trial involving 28 patients with predicted severe acute pancreatitis who were randomly assigned to receive 400-mg oral pentoxifylline three times daily or placebo within 72 hours of diagnosis. Baseline characteristics were comparable between groups and all other standard of care treatments for severe acute pancreatitis were administered.

Median length of hospital stay was 3 (1-5) days in the pentoxifylline group compared with 5 (1-30) days in the control group (P = .06). Prolonged hospital stays of more than 4 days were less frequent in the pentoxifylline group (P = .046), and none required an ICU transfer compared with four controls. Two controls also developed pancreatic necrosis, three developed organ failure and one was readmitted within the year compared with zero patients in the treatment group.

“We showed that a single institution drug trial for [acute pancreatitis] is feasible and that pentoxifylline is safe, cheap, and might have efficacy,” the researchers wrote. “This sets the stage for a larger trial of this drug in all patients with [acute pancreatitis], to realize the goal of finding an effective drug that can be given within 24 hours of diagnosis in any setting.”

Disclosures: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.