cilostazol, Pletal

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

What is cilostazol, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

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.

What brand names are available for cilostazol?

Pletal

Is cilostazol available as a generic drug?

GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes

Do I need a prescription for cilostazol?

Yes

What are the side effects of cilostazol?

The most common adverse effects of cilostazol are:

Other important side effects which have also been reported with cilostazol include a reduction in numbers of white blood cells and platelets. Severe skin reactions also have been reported.

Cilostazol inhibits the enzyme phosphodiesterase III. Other drugs that inhibit this enzyme have caused death in individuals with heart failure. Therefore, individuals with heart failure should not use cilostazol.

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