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What to Know About Medications to Treat Peripheral Artery Disease

Medically Reviewed by James Beckerman, MD, FACC on October 26, 2021

Peripheral arte ry disease (PAD) affects your circulation and can lead to serious heart issues if left untreated. Symptoms are typically leg pain and numbness. While there's no cure for PAD, a combination of healthy lifestyle changes and prescription medications can help reduce painful symptoms. 

Treating PAD early can help limit the progression of the disease and reduce your chances of a heart attack. Here's what to know about medications to treat PAD.

What Medications Treat Peripheral Artery Disease?

Your doctor may prescribe medications to lower your blood pressure and cholesterol and prevent the formation of blood clots. They may prescribe one of the following medications to help reduce symptoms of PAD. 

  • Antihypertensive medication like Diovan or Benicar to lower blood pressure 
  • Statins to lower cholesterol
  • Antiplatelets like aspirin or clopidogrel to prevent blood clots
  • Medications like alpha-glucosidase inhibitors to control blood sugar
  • Blood thinners like cilostazol or pentoxifylline

These medications are used to reduce your risk of developing more serious peripheral vascular disease. They also help address any underlying issues caused by PAD, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Some people may need to only take one medication, while others may need to take a combination of two or more. 

If you're experiencing symptoms of PAD that are interfering with your life, contact your doctor to discuss your treatment options.

Show Sources

SOURCES:

Archives of Internal Medicine: “Critical Issues in Peripheral Arterial Disease Detection and Management."

Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology: "Evidence-Based Medical Management of Peripheral Artery Disease." 

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: “Ankle brachial index for the diagnosis of lower limb peripheral arterial disease.”

JAMA: “Home-Based Walking Exercise Intervention in Peripheral Artery Disease: "A Randomized Clinical Trial,” "Leg Symptoms in Peripheral Arterial Disease: Associated Clinical Characteristics and Functional Impairment."

Journal of the American College of Cardiology: "Cardioprotective Medication Is Associated With Improved Survival in Patients With Peripheral Arterial Disease."

Mohler, E. R., & Jaff, M. R. Hoboken. "Peripheral Artery Disease," John Wiley & Sons, 2017.

The New England Journal of Medicine: "Peripheral Artery Disease.”

Vascular Medicine: "Treatment decisions for patients with peripheral artery disease and symptoms of claudication.”

Winchester Hospital: “Medications for Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)."

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