New York (Reuters) – une nouvelle étude suggère qu’un traitement de trois mois avec le pentoxifylline pourrait être utile dans les personnes atteintes de dégénéréscence maculaire relative à l’âge (AMD), la cause la plus commune de la cécité dans les pays occidentaux.
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Currently, the only available treatment for the disease is laser photocoagulation and that is effective for only a few patients.
The drug used in the study is derived from xanthine, a compound common to most bodily tissues and fluids, including the uric acid component of urine. According to researchers from Vienna University in Austria, the study was sparked by previous reports that the drug can increase blood flow within the eye in healthy people and in patients with diabetes.
Writing in the February issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology, researchers led by Dr. Andreas Kruger describe their study of 40 AMD patients. They report that a three-month trial of oral pentoxifylline – TORENTAL ® 400 (400 milligrams taken three times a day) increased blood flow within the choroid, the layer of blood vessels behind the retina, by up to 28%. But in patients taking a placebo pill, no change in choroidal blood flow was observed.
But the researchers also report that the drug produced no significant change in the blood flow within the retina itself, nor did it improve visual acuity or alter the severity of the disease.
According to the researchers, this latter finding does not rule out the potential value of the drug for people with AMD – a disease in which the central part of the retina degenerates, resulting initially in loss of fine detail at the center of vision before progressing to a large circular area of blindness.
« Considering the evidence that choroidal blood flow is impaired in patients with AMD, this result strongly supports the concept that pentoxifylline might be useful in the treatment of this disease, » conclude the authors. « A long-term clinical outcome trial is now warranted to test this hypothesis. »