Evaluating the efficacy of pentoxifylline in the treatment of oral submucous fibrosis: A meta-analysis

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Oral submucous fibrosis (OSMF), a potentially malignant oral cavity disorder that causes speech and mastication problems, lacks an established treatment regimen; moreover, no treatment can effectively reverse the course of OSMF. A meta-analysis was conducted to investigate the efficacy of the peripheral vasodilator, pentoxifylline, in the treatment of OSMF. We searched five different databases for studies meeting our eligibility criteria (up to June 30, 2017). Statistical analyses were performed using RevMan 5.3 software. Three randomized controlled trials (247 OSMF patients) were selected. Pentoxifylline increased the objective sign maximal mouth opening (MMO; WMD: −4.59, 95% CI: −8.65, −0.53; p < 0.05) following short-term (under 1 month; WMD: −1.94, 95% CI: −3.12, −0.77; p < 0.05) and long-term (over 1 month; WMD: −5.44, 95% CI: −6.81, −4.07; p < 0.05) application. Pentoxifylline improved the subjective symptom burning sensation (WMD: −0.11, 95% CI: −0.17, −0.05; p < 0.05) only following long-term application (WMD: 0.42, 95% CI: 0.18, 0.96; p < 0.05). The efficacy on MMO and burning sensation increased with time. Although OSMF lacks definitive treatment modalities, our meta-analysis shows that pentoxifylline effectively improves the objective signs and subjective symptoms of OSMF and its therapeutic efficacy increases with time.

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