The ultrashort-acting dihydropyridine calcium channel antagonist clevidipine (Cleviprex(®)) has a rapid onset and offset of effect and reduces blood pressure (BP) by decreasing arteriolar resistance without affecting venous capacitance vessels. This article reviews the clinical efficacy and tolerability of intravenous clevidipine when used to manage BP in perioperative and intensive care settings, as well as summarizing its pharmacological properties. Intravenous clevidipine effectively treated preoperative and postoperative hypertension in patients undergoing cardiac surgery, according to the results of the randomized, multicentre, double-blind, phase III ESCAPE-1 and ESCAPE-2 trials. The randomized, open-label, multicentre, phase III ECLIPSE trials indicated that in terms of keeping systolic BP within the target range, clevidipine was more effective than nitroglycerin or sodium nitroprusside perioperatively and had similar efficacy to nicardipine postoperatively in cardiac surgery patients. In small, double-blind trials in patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft surgery, perioperative clevidipine was noninferior to nitroglycerin, and postoperative clevidipine had similar efficacy to sodium nitroprusside. Noncomparative studies demonstrated that clevidipine provided rapid BP control in patients with acute neurological injuries (including intracerebral haemorrhage, subarachnoid haemorrhage and acute ischaemic stroke), and was not associated with 'overshoot' in the vast majority of patients. Intravenous clevidipine was generally well tolerated and was usually associated with no reflex tachycardia or only very modest increases in heart rate. In conclusion, intravenous clevidipine is a valuable agent for the management of BP in perioperative and intensive care settings.