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Plavix (Clopidogrel) prevents strokes and heart attacks and works better than aspirin.

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About Plavix

Studies have shown that Clopidogrel was more effective than aspirin for reducing heart attacks. The frequency of side effects from taking Clopidogrel was similar to aspirin; however, stomach and intestinal bleeding seems to occur less often while taking Clopidogrel than aspirin.Plaviz was approved by FDA in 1997.

Clopidogrel belongs to anti-platelet medications, it inhibits the ability of platelets to clump together as part of a blood clot. Chemically and by the way it works, this medicine is similar to ticlopidine (Ticlid). But, unlike ticlopidine, Clopidogrel does not cause serious reductions of white cells in the blood, therefore, there is no need of routine blood testing that determines whether the white blood cell count is low during taking this medication. Patients with a recent history of stroke or heart attack and patients with peripheral vascular disease have higher risk of heart attacks and strokes (which usually are caused by blood clots). (Peripheral vascular disease is the same as atherosclerotic arterial disease or "hardening" of the arteries, when the arteries become narrowed. It frequently occurs in the legs and often results in claudication or pain in the legs upon walking). Clopidogrel helps to reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes for these patients.

The missed dose of this medicine should be taken as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, you should skip the missed dose and take only the next dose according to your schedule of taking this medication. You should not take a double dose of this medicine.

Clopidogrel comes in tablets, it should be stored at room temperature, 59-86 degrees F (15-30 degrees C). Keep it away from moisture and heat.

Plavix Safety information

You should inform your doctor and dentist that you are taking Plavix before having any surgical procedures. You should not take aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, Nuprin, others), naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), ketoprofen (Orudis, Orudis KT, Oruvail), indomethacin (Indocin), nabumetone (Relafen), oxaprozin (Daypro), or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) without consulting your doctor first. It may take longer for you to stop bleeding than usually (even from minor wounds). Inform your doctor of any unusual bleeding or bruising that you have.

Studies in rats have shown that Plavix passes into breast milk; however, it is not known whether it passes into human breast milk. Because of potential side effects in the nursing infant, the physician must weigh the potential benefits and possible risks before prescribing this medicine for mothers who are breast-feeding a baby.

Plavix Side effects

Plavix is tolerated even better than aspirin. Side effects such as diarrhea, rash, or itching occur in approximately 1 in 20 persons who are taking Plavix (Clopidogrel). Abdominal pain also occurs in about 1 in 20 persons, but it occurs less frequently than with aspirin.

Clopidogrel rarely results in thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) (only in one out of every 250,000 people). TTP is a serious condition in which blood clots form throughout the body. Blood platelets, which take part in clotting, are consumed, and it can cause bleeding because there are no enough platelets left to allow blood to clot normally. To compare: TTP is caused 17-50 times more frequently by taking the related medicine, ticlodipine (Ticlid), than by Clopidogrel.

You should stop taking Plavix and seek emergency medical attention or immediately contact your doctor, if you experience any of the following serious side effects: an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of the throat; swelling of the lips, tongue, or face; or hives); bloody (or black) vomit or stools; severe headache, confusion, or dizziness; unexplained bruising or bleeding; or bleeding nose.

Continue taking Clopidogrel and consult your doctor if you experience other, less serious side effects that may be more likely to occur. They include: upset stomach; diarrhea or constipation; or headache or dizziness.

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