BACKGROUND Venous ulcers (VU) are the most advanced stage of chronic venous disease (CVD) of the lower limbs. They are frequently associated with episodes of hemorrhage that can provoke chronic anemia (CA), delaying healing. There are no studies in the literature analyzing the prevalence of CA among patients with VU of the lower limbs and few studies have analyzed use
of pentoxifylline to treat VU of the lower limbs. OBJECTIVES To evaluate the prevalence of CA in patients with lower limb VU and responses to treatment with ferrous sulfate (SF) compared with a combination of SF plus pentoxifylline as adjuvant treatment for VU of the lower limbs. METHODS A total of 67 patients with lower limb VU were recruited from a Lymphedema and Angiodysplasia Clinic at the Hospital das Clínicas, Recife, PE, Brazil. After initial clinical and laboratory assessments, patients diagnosed with CA were randomized into one of two groups: a control group, given SF (900 mg/day oral route), or a study group, treated with SF (900 mg/day oral route) and pentoxifylline (1,200 mg/day). All were reassessed after 90 days. RESULTS Twenty-seven patients (40%) had CA. After treatment, increases were observed in hemoglobin and hematocrit levels, iron kinetics had improved, and both depth and area of VU had reduced in both groups, without statistically significant differences. CONCLUSIONS A high prevalence of anemia was detected in the study population. The combination of SF and pentoxifylline was not more effective than SF alone for adjuvant treatment of VU of the lower limbs.