Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) encompasses the vascular diseases caused primarily by atherosclerosis and thromboembolic pathophysiological processes that alter the normal structure and function of the aorta, its visceral arterial branches and the arteries of the upper and lower extremities. PAD is associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. The goals for pharmacological therapy in PAD should focus on reducing cardiovascular risk, improving walking distance and preventing critical limb ischaemia. Exercise training plays a key role in the therapeutic assessment, as well stopping smoking. Antiplatelet therapy (aspirin) should be given to every PAD patient if there are no contraindications. Neither their combination nor anticoagulant therapy has shown additional benefit in PAD patients. Several pharmacological agents have been developed to improve the functional state of the claudicant and to relieve the symptoms. Many studied drugs have shown either no, a small or a potential benefit. With future development of new drugs for PAD, there is an absolute need for very strict well-designed protocols in order to evaluate the claudication distance, the progression of the disease and the reduction in cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. New developments should focus on improvement of endothelial function, vascular repair and enhancement of collateral circulation.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The author has received research grants from Pfizer, Merck, Abbott, Novartis, Roche, AstraZeneca, Vasogen and Sanofi-Aventis.
Copyright 2009 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.
- Antiplatelet therapy
- Cardiovascular risk
- Intermittent claudication
- Peripheral artery disease
- Walking distance