Drugs & Aging

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 1–12

Drug Treatment of Peripheral Arterial Disease in the Elderly


    • Department of Medicine, Cardiology and Geriatrics DivisionsNew York Medical College
Therapy In Practice

DOI: 10.2165/00002512-200623010-00001

Cite this article as:
Aronow, W.S. Drugs Aging (2006) 23: 1. doi:10.2165/00002512-200623010-00001


Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) may be asymptomatic, may be associated with intermittent claudication or may be associated with critical limb ischaemia. Coronary artery disease (CAD) and other atherosclerotic vascular disorders may coexist with PAD. Persons with PAD are at increased risk for all-cause mortality, cardiovascular mortality and mortality from CAD. Smoking should be stopped and hypertension, diabetes mellitus, dyslipidaemia and hypothyroidism treated. HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins) reduce the incidence of intermittent claudication and improve exercise duration until the onset of intermittent claudication in persons with PAD and hypercholesterolaemia. Antiplatelet drugs such as aspirin or clopidogrel (especially the latter), ACE inhibitors and statins should be given to all persons with PAD. β-Adrenoceptor antagonists should be given if CAD is present. The phosphodiesterase type 3 inhibitor cilostazol improves exercise time until intermittent claudication. Chelation therapy should be avoided. Correct implementation of medical therapy significantly reduces the excess mortality associated with PAD. In addition, medical therapy may result in significant improvements in walking ability that may obviate the need for lower extremity angioplasty with stenting and bypass surgery.

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© Adis Data Information BV 2006