Med Princ Pract. 2020 Oct 13. doi: 10.1159/000512234. Online ahead of print.
In December 2019, a new coronavirus, named SARS-CoV-2, has emerged from China causing pneumonia outbreaks first in the Wuhan region and have now spread worldwide but there are still no “specific drug” available. In the difficulty where new synthesized drug cannot be applied immediately to patients, “conventional drug in new use” becomes a feasible solution. Chloroquine, remdesivir, favipiravi, lopinavir, ribavirin or ritonavir have shown efficacy to inhibit coronavirus in vitro. Pentoxifylline, a drug with anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory and bronchodilatory effects, previously showed efficacy to inhibit various viral infections. Immunological studies have shown that most patients with severe COVID-19 exhibit substantially elevated serum levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Pentoxifylline is a phosphodiesterase inhibitor that increases cyclic adenosine monophosphate levels, which in turn activate protein kinase, leading to a reduction in the synthesis of proinflammatory cytokines and immune cell migration. Here we propose pentoxifylline, a drug with low cost and toxicity, as a possible treatment for COVID-19 in basis of its interesting properties.