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Taking Pletal for Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)

Pletal (cilostazol) is a medication that can relieve claudication. Claudication is a common symptom of peripheral arterial disease (PAD). It causes pain or discomfort in your legs during exercise. This problem occurs because of reduced blood flow to your leg muscles.

How Pletal Works

Pletal works by improving blood flow in the tiniest blood vessels. This allows you to walk farther without pain, so you can be more active and do more of the things you like to do. Pletal can be used safely with many medications, such as those used to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. But some medications can affect how Pletal works in your body, so your doctor needs to know what else you take. You may need to take Pletal for 1 to 3 months before it starts to work. If you see no improvement after taking Pletal daily for 3 months, your doctor will most likely take you off this medication. You should not use Pletal if you have heart failure.

Taking Pletal Safely

Before taking Pletal, be sure your doctor knows what other medications, herbs, and supplements you take. Also, tell your doctor if you have a history of heart failure or any other medical conditions. Always take medications as directed.

Tips for Taking Pletal

  • Develop a routine. For example, make taking Pletal part of getting up in the morning, or getting ready for bed at night.

  • Don’t skip doses.You must take Pletal daily to be effective.

  • Take on an empty stomach, either 1 hour before a meal or 3 hours after.

  • Keep track of what you take. A pillbox with days of the week can help, especially if you take several medications. Or use a list or chart to keep track.


When to Call the Doctor

Side effects of Pletal can occur. If you have problems, a dosage change may help. Call your doctor if you develop any of the following:

  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat

  • Loose bowel movements or diarrhea

  • Headache

  • Stomach upset

Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Online Medical Reviewer: Turley, Ray, BSN, MSN
Last Review Date: 3/24/2014
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