(HealthDay News) – In patients with stable intermittent claudication due to peripheral arterial disease, low-dose aspirin appears to work as well as clopidogrel when given in conjunction with walking rehabilitation to improve initial claudication distance (ICD) and absolute claudication distance (ACD), according to research published in the February issue of the Journal of the American Heart Association: Cardiovascular and Cerebrovascular Disease.

Elisabeth Singer, MD, of the University of Basel in Switzerland, and colleagues conducted a randomized, three-month, multicenter study involving 259 adult patients with stable intermittent claudication who received either clopidogrel or low-dose aspirin. All patients participated in a rehabilitation program that involved one-hour daily walking sessions at a speed of 120 steps/minute, and 229 patients completed the study according to protocol. At baseline and after the 12-week program, treadmill tests were conducted to measure patients’ walking distance.

The researchers found that, after the three-month walking program, the ICD increased by 33.3% and 33.9% in the clopidogrel and aspirin groups, respectively. The ACD increased by 34.9% and 35.3% for the clopidogrel and aspirin groups, respectively.

“Treatment with aspirin did not show a difference in ICD or ACD improvements compared to clopidogrel after a three month walking exercise training. It seems that the anti-inflammatory properties of low-dose aspirin and its inhibiting effects on arteriogenesis are not of clinical relevance for rehabilitation programs in intermittent claudication,” the authors write.

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