The coating material technology is important for the delivery of anti-proliferative drugs from the surface of drug-eluting balloons (DEBs), which are emerging as alternatives to drug-eluting stents (DES) in the field of interventional cardiology. Currently, several shortcomings limit their competition with DES, including low drug transfer efficiency to the arterial tissues and undesirable particulate generation from the coating matrix. In this review, we provide a survey of the materials used in existing DEBs, and discussed the mechanisms of actions of both the drugs and coating materials. The type of drug and the influence of the coating material characteristics on the drug uptake, distribution and retention in arterial tissues are described. We also summarize the novel coating excipients under development and provide our perspective on the possible use of nano-scale carriers to address the shortcomings of current coating technology. The scope of this review includes only materials that have been approved for biomedical applications or are generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for drug delivery.