Clopidogrel is used alone or with aspirin to prevent serious or life-threatening problems with the heart and blood vessels in people who have had a stroke, heart attack, or severe chest pain. This includes people who have percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI; angioplasty; a type of heart surgery) that may involve inserting coronary stents (metal tubes surgically placed in clogged blood vessels to improve blood flow) or who have coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG; a type of heart surgery). Clopidogrel is also used to prevent serious or life-threatening problems with the heart and blood vessels in people who have peripheral arterial disease (poor circulation in the blood vessels that supply blood to the legs). Clopidogrel is in a class of medications called antiplatelet medications. It works by preventing platelets (a type of blood cell) from collecting and forming clots that may cause a heart attack or stroke.
Clopidogrel comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken once a day with or without food. Take clopidogrel at around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take clopidogrel exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Clopidogrel will help prevent serious problems with your heart and blood vessels only as long as you take the medication. Continue to take clopidogrel even if you feel well. Do not stop taking clopidogrel without talking to your doctor. If you stop taking clopidogrel, there is a higher risk that you may have a heart attack or stroke. If you have a stent, there is also a higher risk that you could develop a blood clot in the stent if you stop taking clopidogrel too soon.
Clopidogrel is also sometimes used to prevent blood clots in people with atrial fibrillation (a condition in which the heart beats irregularly). Talk to your doctor about the possible risks of using this medication for your condition.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Before taking clopidogrel,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to clopidogrel, any other medications, or any ingredient in clopidogrel tablets. Ask your pharmacist or check the Medication Guide for a list of the ingredients.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: anticoagulants ('blood thinners') such as warfarin (Coumadin); aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), and naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn); cilostazol (Pletal); etravirine (Intelence); fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem); fluvoxamine (Luvox); ketoconazole (Nizoral); lansoprazole (Prevacid); and ticlopidine (Ticlid). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor if you are taking omeprazole (Prilosec, Prilosec OTC, Zegerid) or esomeprazole (Nexium) for stomach acid problems. Your doctor may tell you to take a different medication for stomach acid problems while you are taking clopidogrel.
- tell your doctor if you have bleeding ulcers (sores in the lining of the stomach or small intestine that are bleeding), bleeding in the brain, or any other condition that causes severe bleeding. Your doctor may tell you that you should not take clopidogrel.
- tell your doctor if you have recently been injured and if you have or have ever had liver or kidney disease or any condition that may cause bleeding, including stomach problems such as ulcers and certain eye problems.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking clopidogrel, call your doctor.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking clopidogrel.
- you should know that you may bleed more easily or for a longer time than usual while you are taking clopidogrel. Be careful not to cut or hurt yourself while you are taking clopidogrel.
Food limitations and special diet when taking Clopidogrel
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
Possible side effects
Clopidogrel may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- excessive tiredness
- stomach pain
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- black and tarry stools
- red blood in stools
- bloody vomit
- vomit that looks like coffee grounds
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- slow or difficult speech
- weakness or numbness of an arm or a leg
- changes in vision
- shortness of breath
- fast heartbeat
- pale skin
- purple patches or bleeding under the skin
- yellowing of the skin or eyes
Clopidogrel may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
Storage and disposal of Clopidogrel
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services.
Symptoms of overdose may include the following:
- unusual bruising or bleeding
Other important information
Keep all appointments with your doctor.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
We provide only general information about Plavix which does not cover all possible drug integrations, directions or precautions. Information at our website cannot be used for self-treatment and self-diagnosis. Any specific instructions for a particular patient should be agreed with his health care adviser or doctor in charge of the case. We disclaim reliability of this information and mistakes it could contain. We are not responsible for any direct, indirect, special or other indirect damage as a result of any use of the information on this site and also for consequences of self-treatment.
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