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.