Carolinas HealthCare System
Search Health Information   
 

Clopidogrel (Plavix)

Alternate Names

Blood thinners - clopidogrel; Antiplatelet therapy - clopidogrel

Definition

Treatment with clopidogrel prevents blood clots from forming in your arteries. This medicine helps reduce your risk of stroke or heart attack.

Clopidogrel may be used to:

  • Prevent or treat heart attacks
  • Prevent stroke or transient ischemic attacks, or TIAs (early warning signs of stroke also called "mini-strokes")
  • Increase blood flow to your legs
  • Prevent clots from forming inside stents put inside your arteries to open them

This medicine is usually taken as a pill. Your doctor may change your dose from time to time.

See also: Aspirin and heart disease

Side Effects

Side effects of this medicine may include diarrhea, skin rash, itching, nausea, or stomach pain. Before you start taking clopidogrel, tell your doctor if:

  • You have bleeding problems or stomach ulcers.
  • You are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

Taking Clopidogrel

Take this medicine with food and plenty of water to lower side effects. You may need to stop taking clopidogrel before you have surgery or dental work. Do NOT just stop taking your medicine without talking with your doctor or nurse first.

Talk with your doctor before taking any of these drugs:

  • Heparin and other blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin)
  • Pain or arthritis medicine (such as diclofenac, etodolac, ibuprofen, indomethacin, Advil, Aleve, Daypro, Dolobid, Feldene, Indocin, Motrin, Orudis, Relafen, or Voltaren)
  • Phenytoin (Dilantin), tamoxifen (Nolvadex), tolbutamide (Orinase), or torasemide (Demadex)

Do not take other drugs that may have aspirin or ibuprofen in them. Read the labels on cold and flu medicines. Ask your doctor what other medicines are safe for you to take for aches and pains, colds, or the flu.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding or planning to breastfeed. Women in the later stages of pregnancy should not take clopidogrel. Clopidogrel can also be passed to infants through breast milk.

If you miss a dose:

  • Take it as soon as possible, unless it is time for your next dose.
  • If it is time for your next dose, take your usual amount.
  • Do NOT take extra pills to make up for a dose you have missed.

Store these drugs and all other medicines in a cool, dry place. Keep them where children cannot get to them.

When to Call the Doctor

Call your doctor if you have any of these side effects and they do not go away:

  • Any signs of unusual bleeding, such as blood in the urine or stools, nosebleeds, any unusual bruising, heavy bleeding from cuts, black tarry stools, coughing up blood, heavier than usual menstrual bleeding or unexpected vaginal bleeding, vomit that looks like coffee grounds
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Tightness in your chest or chest pain
  • Swelling in your face or hands
  • Itching, hives, or tingling in your face or hands
  • Wheezing or difficulty breathing
  • Very bad stomach pain
  • Skin rash

References

Fraker TD Jr, Fihn SD, Gibbons RJ, Abrams J, Chatterjee K, Daley J et al. 2007 chronic angina focused update of the ACC/AHA 2002 Guidelines for the management of patients with chronic stable angina: a report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines Writing Group to develop the focused update of the 2002 Guidelines for the management of patients with chronic stable angina. Circulation. 2007;116:2762-2772.

Kushner FG, Hand M, Smith SC Jr, King SB 3rd, Anderson JL, Antman EM, et al. 2009 Focused Updates: ACC/AHA Guidelines for the Management of Patients With ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction (updating the 2004 Guideline and 2007 Focused Update) and ACC/AHA/SCAI Guidelines on Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (updating the 2005 Guideline and 2007 Focused Update): a report of the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. Circulation. 2009 Dec 1;120(22):2271-306.

Sobel M, Verhaeghe R; American College of Chest Physicians. Antithrombotic therapy for peripheral artery occlusive disease: American College of Chest Physicians Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guidelines (8th Edition). Chest. 2008;133:815S-843S.

Vorchheimer DA, et al. The primary and secondary prevention of coronary artery disease: American College of Chest Physicians Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guidelines (8th Edition). Chest. 2008;133(6 Suppl):776S-814S.


Review Date: 9/21/2010
Reviewed By: Michael A. Chen, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington Medical School, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
adam.com
 
About Carolinas HealthCare System
Who We Are
Leadership
Community Benefit
Corporate Financial Information
Diversity and Inclusion
Annual Report
Foundation
Patient Links
Pay Your Bill
Hospital Pre-Registration
Patient Rights
Privacy Policy
Financial Assistance
Quality & Value Reports
Insurance
Careers
Join Carolinas HealthCare System
Physician Careers

For Employees
Carolinas Connect
Connect with Us
Watch Carolinas HealthCare on YoutubeFollow Carolinas HealthCare on TwitterLike Carolinas HealthCare on FacebookContact Carolinas HealthCareJoin Carolinas HealthCare on LinkedInGo to our mobile website.