GENERIC NAME: cilostazol
BRAND NAME: Pletal
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Cilostazol is a medication for the treatment of intermittent claudication, a condition caused by narrowing of the arteries that supply the legs with blood. Patients with intermittent claudication develop pain when they walk because not enough oxygen-containing blood reaches the active leg muscles. Cilostazol reduces the pain of intermittent claudication by dilating the arteries, thereby improving the flow of blood and oxygen to the legs. (It does this by decreasing the action of an enzyme, phosphodiesterase III.) It also reduces the ability of blood to clot. Cilostazol enables patients with intermittent claudication to walk longer and faster before developing pain. Cilostazol has a different mechanism of action than pentoxifylline (Trental), the other drug approved for intermittent claudication. (Pentoxifylline improves blood flow by making it easier for red blood cells to pass through vessels. It also decreases the viscosity of blood.). The FDA approved cilostazol in January 1999.
PRESCRIBED FOR: Cilostazol improves walking speed and walking distance among patients with intermittent claudication. It does not cure intermittent claudication. Cilostazol has not been studied in patients with leg pain at rest, leg ulcers due to reduced flow of blood, gangrene or rapidly progressing claudication.
SIDE EFFECTS: The most common adverse effects of cilostazol are:
- abdominal pain,
- abnormal stool,
- upper respiratory tract infections,
- runny nose,
- fluid retention,
- dizziness and
- abnormal heartbeats.
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