Generic Name: Clopidogrel
Brand Name: Plavix
What is Plavix?
Plavix is a drug that prevents the platelets in the blood from sticking together, thereby avoiding the formation of blood clots. There can be unwanted cases of blood clots, which can occur in cases of heart diseases or blood vessel conditions. People who recently had a stroke or heart attack are given Plavix to prevent blood clots. Due to the effect of this drug, Plavix can easily cause bleeding even in minor injury cases. Hence, those individuals who have active bleeding such as ulcers in the stomach or bleeding in the brain due to any head injury should avoid taking Plavix. The doctor can also request for certain blood tests before starting the treatment to ensure that patients do not have any genetic conditions, which would prevent them from safely using Plavix.
Plavix is known to cause certain drug interactions. The doctor can bring about changes in the treatment plan if there are other medications being taken together with Plavix. The usual medications are stomach acid reducers such as omeprazole and esomeprazole. If one would be undergoing surgery or any dental work, you must inform the surgeon or dentist ahead of time that you are taking Plavix.
There are certain things you should keep in mind before going ahead with the treatment to avoid certain side effects, which can be life-threatening:
- If you are allergic to any of the contents or ingredients found in Plavix
- If you have an active bleeding such as ulcers in the stomach or brain hemorrhage
- If you are taking any medications, substances, vitamins, herbal remedies, or any dietary supplements
- Inform the doctor in advance if you are suffering from certain medical conditions such as kidney disease and blood clotting disorders such as hemophilia or thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP).
- A history of stroke
- Allergy to any medications, food, or substances
- If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy
- If you are nursing a baby
Make sure to take Plavix as directed by the doctor or according to the instructions on the medicine label. Avoid taking larger or smaller doses of the medicine and do not use it for longer durations without the recommendation of the doctor. Plavix can be taken either with or without food. Since Plavix is known to prevent blood clotting, even a minor injury can bleed easily.
For individuals who would need to undergo any dental work or surgery, it is better to inform the doctor at the earliest since you would be asked to stop taking the medicine for a short duration prior to the procedure to prevent any excessive case of bleeding. Once the procedure is completed, follow the doctor’s instructions when to resume taking Plavix.
Do not stop this medicine abruptly without the doctor’s knowledge. Even if you feel fine, you should continue taking the medicine or else the symptoms would come back. Store the medicine at room temperature and away from sunlight, heat, and moisture. If you miss a dose, then take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is already time for the next dose, then avoid taking the missed one to avoid an overdose.
During the course of Plavix treatment, avoid any kind of activities that can lead to an increased risk of injury or bleeding. Thus, you should take extra care so as to avoid any instances of bleeding even while carrying out basic activities such as shaving or brushing your teeth. Avoid the intake of alcohol as it can lead to an increase in the risk of stomach or intestinal bleeding.
When taking Plavix, there can be certain instances of allergic reactions, which include hives, breathing difficulties, swelling of the lips, tongue, throat, and face. Seek medical attention right away if you experience the following serious side effects:
- Epistaxis (bleeding from the nose)
- Other types of bleeding that does not stop
- Getting easily bruised
- Skin turning pale
- Jaundice symptoms, wherein the skin and eyes turn yellow
- Passing tarry or bloody stools
- Vomiting or coughing up blood
- Fever with chills
- Unusual form of bleeding from the rectum, vagina, and mouth
- Red or purple spots and patches under the skin
- Symptoms of a heart attack such as chest pain, tightness or pressure on the chest, pain that gradually spreads to the jaw or shoulders, sweating, and nausea
- Stroke symptoms such as a severe headache, slurred speech, having trouble in one's vision, blurry vision, and pain or weakness mostly on one side of the body
There can be other medicines that tend to increase the risk of bleeding if taken along with Plavix. Let the doctor know if you had a stroke or are taking aspirin. Inform the doctor about any medicines being taken whether prescribed or over-the-counter ones. The following drugs can lead to potential drug interactions:
- Blood thinners such as warfarin under the brand names Jantoven or Coumadin
- Antidepressant drugs such as fluoxetine, trazodone, paroxetine, duloxetine, citalopram, milnacipran, and fluvoxamine
- Certain nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, aspirin, naproxen, indomethacin, meloxicam, and diclofenac
Plavix and Root Canal Treatment
Since Plavix is known to keep the blood from clotting, performing dental procedures may cause easy bleeding. The doctor would advise you to stop taking the medicine for at least five days or longer before undergoing the dental procedure so as to prevent any instance of excessive bleeding. Once the procedure is completed, the dentist would inform you when to resume taking Plavix again.
In certain cases, the doctor would recommend to continue taking the medicine even during a dental procedure. Plavix is usually taken for the prevention of stroke and other circulatory problems. All of these conditions are much more serious or life-threatening than a dental procedure. However, it is still best to consult both the doctor who prescribed the medicine and also the dentist on what needs to be done to avoid any kind of complications.
In some cases, your dentist might consult your cardiologist or physician about the changes in your medication along with determining the most suitable medications for your condition.