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Cilostazol for Peripheral Arterial Disease

Examples

Generic Name Brand Name
cilostazol Pletal

How It Works

Researchers do not completely understand how cilostazol relieves intermittent claudication. It may increase blood flow to the legs by inhibiting clotting and by causing the blood vessels to widen.

Why It Is Used

Cilostazol is used to treat intermittent claudication in people who have peripheral arterial disease (PAD).

How Well It Works

Cilostazol may help people who experience pain when walking (intermittent claudication). This medicine may increase the distance that some people can walk before pain begins.1

Side Effects

All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.

Here are some important things to think about:

  • Usually the benefits of the medicine are more important than any minor side effects.
  • Side effects may go away after you take the medicine for a while.
  • If side effects still bother you and you wonder if you should keep taking the medicine, call your doctor. He or she may be able to lower your dose or change your medicine. Do not suddenly quit taking your medicine unless your doctor tells you to.

Call 911 or other emergency services right away if you have:

  • Trouble breathing.
  • Swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor if you have:

  • Hives.

Common side effects of this medicine include:

  • Headache.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Palpitations.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

If you have heart failure, do not take cilostazol.

Cilostazol should not be taken with food. It should be taken ½ hour before eating or 2 hours after eating.

Do not drink grapefruit juice if you are taking cilostazol. Grapefruit juice may change how cilostazol works in your body.

Taking medicine

Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.

There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.

Advice for women

If you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant, do not use any medicines unless your doctor tells you to. Some medicines can harm your baby. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements. And make sure that all your doctors know that you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant.

Checkups

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.

References

Citations

  1. Robless P, et al. (2008). Cilostazol for peripheral arterial disease. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (1).

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Specialist Medical Reviewer David A. Szalay, MD - Vascular Surgery
Last Revised May 14, 2012

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