The vascular and biochemical effects of cilostazol in patients with peripheral arterial disease

J Vasc Surg. 2009 May;49(5):1226-34. doi: 10.1016/j.jvs.2008.11.098. Epub 2009 Feb 14.


Objectives: Cilostazol improves walking distance and quality of life in patients with peripheral arterial disease (PAD). This study assessed the vascular and biochemical effects of cilostazol therapy in PAD patients.

Methods: PAD patients were prospectively recruited to a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial. Baseline clinical data were recorded. Clinical assessment included measurement of arterial compliance, transcutaneous oxygenation, ankle-brachial index (ABI), and treadmill walking distance. Blood analyses included a full blood panel, coagulation screen, urea and electrolytes, liver function tests, estimated glomerular filtration rate, and lipid profiles. Quality of life indices were recorded using validated generic and walking-specific questionnaires. All tests were performed at baseline, 6, and 24 weeks.

Results: Eighty patients (53 men) were recruited from December 2004 to January 2006. The cilostazol group had a significant reduction in the augmentation index compared with the placebo group at 6 weeks (19.7% vs 26.7%, P = .001) and at 24 weeks (19.7% vs 27.7%, P = .005). A paradoxic reduction in transcutaneous oxygenation levels was identified in the cilostazol group for the left foot at 6 weeks and for the right foot at both 6 and 24 weeks. The ABIs were not significantly different between treatment groups at baseline, 6 weeks, or 24 weeks for the left and right lower limbs. The mean percentage change in walking distance from baseline improved more markedly in the cilostazol compared with the placebo group for absolute claudication distance at 6 (78.6% vs 26.4%, P = .20) and 24 weeks (173.1% vs 92.1%, P = .27); however, these failed to reach significance. Significant improvements in lipid profiles were demonstrated with cilostazol therapy at 6 weeks (triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein [HDL]) and at 24 weeks (cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL, and low-density lipoprotein). The cilostazol treatment group demonstrated significant improvements in the Short Form-36 (physical functioning, physical component score), Walking Impairment (distance and speed), and Vascular Quality of Life (pain) indices at 6 and 24 weeks. Although cilostazol was associated with side effects in approximately one-third of patients, most settled within 6 weeks, facilitating the continuation of therapy in >89%.

Conclusion: Cilostazol is a well-tolerated, safe, and efficacious treatment for PAD patients. It not only improves patients' symptomatology and quality of life but also appears to have beneficial effects on arterial compliance, possibly through its lipid-lowering property.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Ankle / blood supply
  • Aorta / drug effects
  • Aorta / physiopathology
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Brachial Artery / drug effects
  • Brachial Artery / physiopathology
  • Cardiovascular Agents / adverse effects
  • Cardiovascular Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cilostazol
  • Compliance
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipids / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Peripheral Vascular Diseases / blood
  • Peripheral Vascular Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Peripheral Vascular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life
  • Recovery of Function
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tetrazoles / adverse effects
  • Tetrazoles / therapeutic use*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Walking


  • Biomarkers
  • Cardiovascular Agents
  • Lipids
  • Tetrazoles
  • Cilostazol
  • Oxygen