1 What is Plavix?

Brand: Plavix

Generic: Clopidogrel bisulfate

Plavix is a platelet inhibitor drug used alone or together with aspirin to decrease the risk of a heart attack or stroke in patients who already have a history of heart attack, circulation problems, severe chest pain, or a stroke

 This drug works by preventing platelet aggregation to reduce any occurrences of blood clots that may clog up blood vessels. Increased risk of bleeding is associated with this drug. This drug requires a prescription.

2 What to Know Before Using

Before using Plavix, you must know all about the risks and complications associated with it. Inform your healthcare provider for any allergic reactions to these drugs or any other drugs, foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. 

Carefully read the label of non-prescription drugs for any possible allergic reaction or contraindications. Studies on the correlation of age to the effects of clopidogrel in the pediatric population have not been performed while safety and efficacy have not been established. 

Studies in the elderly have not reported any geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of clopidogrel. No harmful effects have been reported in animal studies and studies in pregnant women or animals are still inadequate. 

No risks to the fetus have been demonstrated in the studies of pregnant women.  Development of any infant risk when taking during breastfeeding is still undetermined. Discuss with your healthcare professional the possible risks and benefits before taking this drug while breastfeeding. 

Drugs should not be taken together to prevent any interactions but in necessary cases inquire your healthcare provider regarding the adjustments in dosage or any other necessary precautions to prevent any unwanted side effects. 

Inform your healthcare professional if you are taking any other prescription or non-prescription drugs. Intake of specific food or using alcohol or tobacco with magnesium is associated with an increased risk of certain side effects. 

Your healthcare professional can give you special instructions about the use of food, alcohol, or tobacco. Inform your healthcare provider for any other medical problems such as bleeding, stroke, or transient ischemic attack (TIA).

3 Proper Usage

Proper usage of Plavix requires strict adherence to your doctor’s orders. To prevent any side effects, take this drug exactly as directed on the label or as prescribed by your healthcare professional. 

Follow the instructions on the label or as directed by your healthcare professional. You can take this drug with or without food. Do not take this drug at the same time with omeprazole (PrilosecВ®). 

Ask your health care provider to prescribe you with a different antacid. You may be advised to take this drug with aspirin if you have acute coronary syndrome. Consult with your doctor before you change the dose or stop taking the aspirin. 

The dose of this drug will be variable for different patients. The directions on the label or the prescription by your healthcare professional should be followed. The dosage of this drug you take depends on the medical problem for which you are using this drug.  

For prevention of blood clots in adults, 75 milligrams (mg) once a day is recommended. Use and dose in children must be determined by your healthcare professional. A missed dose should be taken as soon as possible. 

However, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule if it is almost time for your next dose. Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing. Keep out of the reach of children. 

Dispose any outdated or expired drugs and ask your healthcare professional for the proper disposal of the drugs.

4 Precautions to Take

Before using Plavix, there are some precautions you must take. Your health care provider should closely monitor the effectiveness of this drug as well as check for unwanted effects. Consult with your healthcare professional before you decide to stop taking this drug. 

You may be advised to undergo a genetic test before taking this drug to determine if you CYP2C19 enzyme deficiency. This will not work if you have this enzyme deficiency. Inform your healthcare professional before undergoing any surgery or medical procedure as this drug may increase the risk of serious bleeding. 

Stop taking this drug for at least 5 days before a surgery, medical procedure, or dental work. Consult with your healthcare professional before you stop taking this drug. Limit yourself from rough sports or other situations where you could be bruised, cut, or injured. 

Be watchful in using sharp objects, including razors and fingernail clippers. This drug may increase your chance of bleeding or bruising. Inform your healthcare professional immediately if experience any unusual bleeding or bruising, black, tarry stools, blood in the urine or stools, or pinpoint red spots on your skin. 

Refrain from picking your nose and blow it gently if you need to decongest it. 

Consult with your healthcare professional before you change your dose or stop taking this drug, and if experience any symptoms of thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura such as mental status, dark or bloody urine, difficulty with speaking, fever, pale color of the skin, pinpoint red spots on the skin, seizures, weakness, yellow eyes or skin. 

Seek advice from your healthcare professional before taking any other prescription or nonprescription drugs, and herbal or vitamin supplements.

5 Potential Side Effects

As with many medications, there are several potential side effects associated with Plavix. Side effects may vary for each individual and prompt medical attention should be given if they occur.  

Consult with your healthcare professional immediately if you experience symptoms of: 

  • chest pain
  • a collection of blood under the skin
  • deep, dark purple bruise
  • itching, pain
  • redness, or swelling, pain in general
  • red or purple spots on the skin
  • varying in size from pinpoint to large bruises
  • nosebleed
  • painful or difficult urination
  • shortness of breath
  • vomiting of blood or material that looks like coffee grounds
  • black, tarry stools blistering
  • flaking, or peeling of the skin
  • blood in the urine or stools
  • confusion
  • fever
  • chills
  • sore throat
  • headache
  • nausea or vomiting
  • stomach pain
  • ulcers
  • sores
  • white spots in the mouth
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • weakness
  • abdominal or stomach cramps or swelling
  • back pain or backaches
  • blurred vision
  • change in mental status
  • a cough or hoarseness
  • dark urine
  • the difficulty with breathing or swallowing
  • the difficulty with speaking
  • dizziness
  • faintness
  • lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
  • fast heartbeat,
  • the feeling of discomfort
  • the general feeling of tiredness or weakness
  • hives
  • inflammation of the joints
  • itching
  • light-colored stools
  • lower back or side pain
  • muscle aches
  • pale color of the skin
  • puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, tongue
  • rash, reddening of the skin, especially around the ears
  • seizures
  • sweating
  • swelling of the eyes, face, or inside of the nose
  • swollen lymph glands
  • swollen or painful glands
  • tightness in the chest
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • upper right abdominal or stomach pain
  • watery or bloody diarrhea
  • wheezing
  • yellow eyes or skin

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. As your body adjusts to the medicine, the side effects will slowly disappear. Ask your healthcare professional about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. 

If any of the following side effects persists or are inconvenient, or if you notice any other effects, or if you have any questions about them, consult with your health care professional. Report any side effects to the FDA hotline at 1-800-FDA-1088.

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