What is the role of benzopyrones in the treatment of lymphedema?

Updated: Mar 24, 2021
  • Author: Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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When combined with complex physical therapy, the benzopyrones (including coumarin and flavonoids) are a group of drugs that have been found to be successful in treating lymphedema. These drugs bind to accumulated interstitial proteins, inducing macrophage phagocytosis and proteolysis. The resulting protein fragments pass more readily into the venous capillaries and are removed by the vascular system.

The benzopyrones aid in decreasing excess edematous fluid, softening the limb, decreasing skin temperature, and reducing the number of secondary infections. Of note, however, is that hepatotoxicity has been associated with coumarin therapy.

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