Prevention of opportunistic infections in HIV infection by pentoxiphylline

A. Wanchu, A. Bhatnagar, P. Bambery, S. Singh, S. Varma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background & objectives: Levels of tumour necrosis factor (TNF) are increased in patients with HIV infection leading to increased apoptosis and reduced CD4 cell life. Pentoxiphylline is a TNF inhibitor with properties that might make it useful for the treatment of HIV infection. These include improved cell mediated immunity and inhibition of viral replication. We carried out this study to determine the therapeutic utility of pentoxiphylline in improving constitutional manifestations, preventing opportunistic infections and sustaining CD4 counts among asymptomatic HIV infected individuals (i.e., those with no opportunistic infection). Methods: Individuals with HIV infection who were over 18 yr of age and free of opportunistic infections were recruited in the study and followed up 4 weekly. CD4 counts were measured using a flowcytometer using anti-human CD4 intervals. Pentoxiphylline was prescribed in a dose of 400 mg thrice daily. Results: Thirty three (18 males) patients with HIV infection were studied. During their follow up (mean 12.5 ± 5.6 months) one patient each developed cryptococcal meningitis and fibrocavitary tuberculosis. Weight increased from 51.3 ± 7.4 kg at baseline to 55.3 ± 7.4 kg (P<0.05). Malaise, fatigue and appetite improved in all those with these complaints, except the two with opportunistic infections. Mean CD4 counts were 184 ± 36.4/μl at baseline and increased to 210 ± 28.6/ μl3 at four weeks (P<0.05). The patients had stable CD4 counts over the follow up period since then, i.e., within 25 per cent of the previous levels. Interpretation & conclusion: Pentoxiphylline therapy in HIV infected individuals, who were free of opportunistic infections, improved their body weight, minimized opportunistic infections, increased and sustained CD4 counts. Given the low cost of the drug it could be recommended for the use in individuals who are at a high risk of developing opportunistic infections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)705-708
Number of pages4
JournalIndian Journal of Medical Research
Issue numberDEC.
StatePublished - Dec 2006


  • Anti-TNF therapy
  • HIV
  • Opportunistic infections
  • Pentoxiphylline

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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