Clopidogrel is a medication that is used in combination with aspirin or as a standalone treatment to prevent serious and potentially life-threatening heart and blood vessel issues in individuals who have experienced a stroke, heart attack, severe chest pain, or have undergone percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) or coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG).
This medication is also effective in preventing serious heart and blood vessel problems in individuals with peripheral arterial disease. Clopidogrel belongs to a class of drugs known as antiplatelet medications, which work by preventing the formation of clots in the blood by preventing the collection of platelets.
Uses and Dosage
Consume this medication orally as instructed by your physician, either with or without food, typically once a day. Consistently take this medication to achieve maximum benefits. To aid in recall, take it at the same time each day.
The dose and treatment duration will be determined by your medical condition and response to treatment. If you are using this medication to prevent blood clots following a stent procedure or similar procedure, continue to take this medication with aspirin for several months to years post-procedure, as directed by your doctor.
Avoid consuming grapefruit or grapefruit juice while using this medication, unless permitted by your doctor or pharmacist. Grapefruit can increase the likelihood of side effects.
In case of any indications that this medication is not effective, such as signs of a new heart attack or stroke (such as chest/jaw/left arm pain, shortness of breath, excessive sweating, weakness on one side of the body, speech difficulties, sudden vision changes, or confusion), seek medical help immediately.
Continue taking this medication even if you feel well. Do not discontinue use without speaking to your doctor first.
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention:
- excessive tiredness
- stomach pain
Inform your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any serious side effects:
- collection of blood under the skin
- deep, dark purple bruise
- itching, pain, redness, or swelling
- bloody nose
- bloody, black, or tarry stools
- vomiting of blood or material that looks like coffee grounds
Prior to taking clopidogrel, inform your physician or pharmacist of any allergies you may have, including allergies to similar antiplatelet drugs such as thienopyridines (such as prasugrel) or any other allergies. This medication may contain inactive ingredients that may cause allergic reactions or other adverse effects.
Inform your doctor or pharmacist of your medical history, particularly any history of bleeding conditions (such as stomach ulcers or bleeding in the brain or eye), recent surgery, serious injury or trauma, liver disease, or bleeding diseases (such as hemophilia).
Before undergoing any surgical procedures, inform your doctor or dentist of all products you are currently using, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, and herbal products. Your doctor may advise you to stop taking clopidogrel for a minimum of 5 days before the surgery. Do not discontinue the use of clopidogrel without first consulting with your cardiologist.
This medication may cause stomach bleeding and daily use of alcohol while taking clopidogrel may increase the risk of stomach bleeding. Limit the consumption of alcoholic beverages and to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about how much alcohol may be consumed safely.
While pregnant, this medication should only be used if the benefits outweigh the risks, as determined by your doctor. The risks and benefits should be thoroughly discussed before making a decision.
Form and Strength
Plavix is available in the following forms and strengths:
Is Plavix considered a blood thinner?
Plavix is a blood thinner that’s used to prevent heart attack and stroke in people who are at higher risk for those events. It’s less expensive because it’s available as a generic medication.
Does Plavix affect blood pressure?
You likely won’t have blood pressure changes while you’re taking Plavix.