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Being Alive

Medical Update: Lowering TNF Levels


Being Alive 1994 Mar 5: 3

TNF (or Tumor Necrosis Factor) is one of the cytokines that the body produces. Researchers have found that people with advanced HIV disease have higher levels of TNF than is normally found in the body. Many believe that high TNF levels may be one of the factors that cause what we call wasting syndrome in people with AIDS.

Trental, the brand name for pentoxifylline, is a drug commonly used to treat circulatory problems in the elderly. This drug has also been found to lower TNF levels, and thus it may be useful in treating late-stage HIV disease.

Trials of Trental as an AIDS treatment are only just beginning, so it is by no means a standard of care. We need to better understand the role of TNF levels. Meanwhile, Trental is an FDA-approved drug and this is one possible option.


Information in this article was accurate in March 5, 1994. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.