Pharmacologic therapy for intermittent claudication

Paul P. Dobesh, Zachary A. Stacy, Emily L. Persson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Peripheral artery disease, defined as atherosclerosis in the lower extremities, affects nearly 8.5 million people in the United States. Due to the frequent asymptomatic manifestation of peripheral artery disease, diagnosis may be delayed and its true incidence underestimated. However, some patients may experience aching pain, numbness, weakness, or fatigue, a condition termed intermittent claudication. Peripheral atherosclerosis is associated with cardiovascular risk and physical impairment; therefore, treatment goals are aimed at decreasing cardiovascular risk, as well as improving quality of life. Little debate exists regarding the management of cardiovascular risk reduction, which consists of both antiplatelet therapy and risk factor modification. Despite recently published guidelines, the treatment of intermittent claudication is less well established and the management remains controversial and uncertain. Exercise remains the first-line therapy for intermittent claudication; however, pharmacologic treatment is often necessary. Although only two prescription drugs have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of intermittent claudication, several supplements and investigational agents have been evaluated. Therapeutic optimization should balance the anticipated improvements in quality of life with the potential safety risks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)526-553
Number of pages28
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2009


  • Angiogenesis.
  • Buflomedil
  • Cilostazol
  • Intermittent claudication
  • L-arginine
  • Naftidrofuryl
  • PAD
  • Pentoxifylline
  • Peripheral artery disease
  • Propionyl-L-carnitine
  • Statins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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