Venous ulcers are common, unsightly, difficult to heal, painful and persistent. They occur when the skin circulation is impaired secondary to poor venous drainage of the legs. Elevation of the legs, exercise, compression bandaging and, later, elastic stockings are the mainstays of treatment.1 Despite these measures, many venous ulcers fail to heal and require prolonged treatment in hospital or at home. The annual cost to the Health Service of dressings and compression bandages has been estimated at £1200 for each unhealed ulcer.2 A recent trial suggests that oxpentifylline (Trental – Hoechst) can enhance healing.3 Does this offer a much needed advance?
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