Pentoxifylline and Peyronie’s Disease

Pentox not researched Peyronie’s disease treatment

Pentoxifylline (often called simply, Pentox) is a drug that is sometimes used in medical Peyronie’s disease treatment.  The exact mechanism by which Pentox affects the Peyronie’s plaque is not at all understood.  But then, its use for PD is called off-label – meaning experimentally and without scientific basis since the drug was not intended or designed to be used in this way.  This is similar to the way that Viagra, Cialis and Levitra are prescribed for PD, even though this is also an irregular use of these drugs; Verapamil is used in a similar off-label manner.

Pentoxifylline is not a vasodilator; it affects the body by changing the shape of red blood cells while in the blood vessels by a mechanism that is not completely understood.  This change allows for improved flow into the smaller arteries and even capillaries of the body. For this reason it is commonly used for treatment of circulation problems in the arms and legs.  While being taken, the effects are experienced as though Pentox is a vasodilator but it is not.

Pentoxifylline is one of those drugs that have multiple off-line uses as determined by any adventurous doctor who is willing to experiment with his/her patients. This is good and bad at the same time.  Apparently pentoxifylline does so many things in the body that it can and is applied to many conditions – this is good, I suppose.  But because it does so many things in so many areas and systems of the body that Pentox is more likely to cause widespread and surprising side effects and new problems that new health problems can develop in those who experiment with it – this is bad.    It has been used in humans for a wide variety of inflammatory and fibrotic conditions; hence, it has been also used for Peyronie’s disease at times.   When it does seem to help PD, the mechanism is not understood, but could be related to blocking of the transforming growth factor (TGF)-1-mediated pathway of inflammation, thus prevents deposition of collagen type 1.

It comes as a tablet that is specially coated to prevent stomach lining irritation.  For this reason do not break, crush, or chew the tablets; swallow dosage whole. Do not stop taking pentoxifylline suddenly. It may take 8-12 weeks for any beneficial effects of pentoxifylline to be noted.

This drug is so new that there have been very few – maybe only one – studies of pentoxifylline for any use.  It has yet to be determined how much and how reliably pentoxifylline reduces plaque formation in later term or well developed Peyronie's disease.

Before taking this medication, let your doctor know if you have an ulcer of the stomach or duodenum, liver disease, any type of bleeding disorder or any type of surgery.

Lastly, because pentoxifylline increases the movement of blood into and out of all areas of the body, it increases how the body responds to some drug functions and reactions.  For this reason, if you are taking another medication along with Pentox you might notice that the other drug will begin to affect you stronger or differently than before.  Thus it might be necessary to adjust the dosage of these other drugs while you are taking pentoxifylline.

I have run across many men who were put on this drug and had no improvement of their PD, and experienced multiple side effects strong and bizarre enough that they had to stop usage – and this made their problem even worse.  These Pentox side effects include loss of appetite, nausea, constipation, headache, dizziness, anxiety or blurred vision may occur at first as your body adjusts to the medication.  More significant are the other side effects of chest pain, mental confusion, gastric irritation, difficulty breathing, or severe rashes that should prompt immediate attention of the prescribing doctor.  Also, pentoxifylline can be difficult to reduce once you are on it since rapid reduction can worsen any of the above side effects.

For information about the natural Alternative Medicine treatment of Peyronie’s disease please visit the Peyronies Disease Institute website.


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