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The role of cilostazol in the treatment of intermittent claudication

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Gerard Stansby


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This paper represents a review, by experts, of current opinion and information on intermittent claudication (IC) and the role that cilostazol plays in its treatment. IC is a common and debilitating condition that has a significant adverse impact on health-related quality of life (HR-QoL). It is currently under-recognised as a powerful marker of increased cardiovascular (CV) risk. The clinical priority is secondary prevention - sometimes referred to as best medical therapy aimed at reducing CV risk. However, the priority for most patients (often overlooked by clinicians) is symptom relief: an increase in walking distance leading to an improvement in HR-QoL. The symptoms of IC may be improved by exercise, pharmacotherapy, and when these are unsuitable or unsuccessful, endovascular or surgical intervention. Cilostazol is indicated for the improvement of maximal and pain-free walking distance in patients with IC who do not have rest pain or tissue necrosis. In clinical trials, cilostazol improved symptoms both objectively and subjectively, and also improved HR-QoL. Cilostazol is usually well tolerated, with adverse events being generally mild to moderate in intensity, and transient or resolved after symptomatic treatment (e.g. non-prescription analgesics). Such events only infrequently require permanent drug withdrawal. There are no interactions with other drugs commonly prescribed in patients with IC, such as statins and anti-platelet agents. Cilostazol also has a range of potentially beneficial effects that may in the future be proven to decrease CV risk and modify the underlying process of atherosclerosis. Cilostazol represents the best evidence-based pharmacological therapy available for the symptoms of IC and should be the first-line treatment for symptom improvement in appropriate patients. Based on the available treatment strategies, the paper presents a suggested algorithm for the management of IC highlighting the role of Cilostazol.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Barnett AH, Bradbury AW, Brittenden J, Crichton B, Donnelly R, Homer-Vanniasinkam S, Mikhailidis DP, Stansby G

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Current Medical Research and Opinion

Year: 2004

Volume: 20

Issue: 10

Pages: 1661-1670

ISSN (print): 0300-7995

ISSN (electronic): 1473-4877


DOI: 10.1185/030079904X4464

PubMed id: 15462700