Plavix (clopidogrel) is a medication prescribed for the prevention of heart attack and stroke prevention. Plavix reduces the rate of myocardial infarction (heart attack) and stroke in patients who have experienced unstable angina or a previous heart attack. Plavix may also be prescribed to patients with established peripheral arterial disease.
Plavix works by attaching to a receptor on the surface of platelet cells called P2Y12. Normally, platelets in the bloodstream aggregate to form clots, and these clots heal and seal injuries. In patients with cardiovascular disease (peripheral arterial disease, unstable angina, or previous heart attack), clots may form at a higher rate than normal, increasing the risk of another cardiac event. By binding to platelets, Plavix stops them from aggregating and slows clot formation.
Take Plavix 75 mg by mouth once daily. Your physician may have you take a higher dose on the first day.
The active ingredient in Plavix is clopidogrel.
Do not take Plavix while taking the GERD medications Prilosec (omeprazole) or Nexium (esomeprazole). These medications may prevent Plavix from activating in the body, decreasing its efficacy.
Do not stop taking Plavix without telling your doctor, since doing so may increase the risk of cardiovascular events.
If you are having a surgery or procedure while taking Plavix, tell your physician. They may need you to discontinue Plavix for several days before the surgery.
Stop taking Plavix immediately if you experience pinpoint red spots under your skin. This symptom may be a sign of Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (TTP), which is a rare and sometimes fatal disorder of platelets.
Plavix side effects may include:
- Major bleeding (life-threatening)
- Minor bleeding