Cilostazol: improving walking distance in patients with intermittent claudication

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Intermittent claudication is a common, disabling symptom of peripheral arterial disease that limits walking distance and is associated with an increased cardiovascular risk of acute limb- or life-threatening complications. Very few patients with intermittent claudication (<7%) are suitable candidates for surgical revascularization, yet in contrast to the treatment of stable angina, few effective medical therapies (apart from exercise) are available for the symptomatic relief of intermittent claudication. The phosphodiesterase-3 inhibitor, cilostazol (Pletal®, Otsuka Pharmaceuticals Ltd), is the first symptom-relieving treatment for intermittent claudication that has been evaluated successfully in large multicenter placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trials (involving >2000 patients). A meta-analysis of the eight major efficacy studies with cilostazol has shown significant improvements in pain-free and maximum walking distance, and a good overall safety and tolerability profile. Thus, in the UK, USA and Japan, cilostazol administered at 100 mg twice daily is licensed for symptom relief in patients with stable, moderate-to-severe intermittent claudication, as an adjunct to nonpharmacological approaches such as exercise.

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