Brand names: Plavix
Plavix keeps blood platelets slippery and discourages formation of clots, thereby improving blood flow to your heart, brain, and body. The drug is prescribed to reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, and serious circulation problems in people with hardening of the arteries or unstable angina (dangerous chest pain), and in people who've already suffered a heart attack or stroke.
Because Plavix slows clotting, it will take longer than usual to stop bleeding. Be sure to report any unusual bleeding to your doctor immediately, and tell any doctor or dentist planning a procedure that you have been taking Plavix. You should discontinue the drug 5 days before any kind of surgery.
Plavix can be taken with or without food.
Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue using Plavix.
Do not take Plavix if you have a bleeding stomach ulcer or bleeding in the area around the brain. Also avoid Clopidogrel bisulfate if it gives you an allergic reaction.
If you've ever had a stomach ulcer or bleeding in the digestive tract, make sure the doctor is aware of it; Plavix should be used with caution. The drug should also be used carefully if you suffer from problems inside the eyes, have bleeding problems due to severe liver disease, or expect to be at risk of bleeding from any other cause.
Plavix may cause serious skin reactions such as toxic epidermal necrolysis, which is characterized by a large portion of skin turning red and peeling off (like a burn); it may also cause blisters. Contact your doctor immediately if these symptoms develop.
In extremely rare cases (about 4 in a million), a dangerous bleeding problem called thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura has been known to develop in patients taking Plavix. Signs include fever and bleeding under the skin. Call your doctor immediately if you develop these symptoms.
Plavix increases the clot-fighting effect of aspirin. The two drugs are often taken together, and combined treatment has lasted for up to one year.
If Plavix is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. Ask your doctor before starting any new drug; and be doubly careful before combining Plavix with the following:AspirinFluvastatinNonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugsPhenytoinTamoxifenTolbutamideTorsemideWarfarin
The effects of Plavix during pregnancy have not been adequately studied. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, inform your doctor immediately. Use Plavix during pregnancy only if absolutely necessary. Do not breastfeed while taking Plavix, since the drug may appear in breast milk.
The usual dose is 75 milligrams once a day. To give people with unstable angina an extra boost, their first dose is usually increased to 300 milligrams.
The safety and effectiveness of Plavix have not been established in children.
Any medication taken in excess can have serious consequences. If you suspect an overdose of Plavix, seek medical attention immediately.