A stroke is a condition where the blood vessels supplying the brain are damaged, blocked, or ruptured. This results in a lack of blood and oxygen supply to a part of the brain. In the absence of oxygen, the brain cells and tissues begin to die within minutes. It is thus an emergency condition.

Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Blood clots are one of the common reasons for blocking a blood vessel and thus for stroke. Damaged arteries are at a high risk of clot formation. This is because platelets, a type of blood cells, are attracted towards the site of damage.

Some proteins and platelets form a plug known as a clot. This clot can block the artery. When this happens in a blood vessel supplying the brain, it can result in a stroke.

In such cases, antiplatelets such as Clopidogrel can prevent clot formation and thus protect you from a stroke. So, people at a high risk of a stroke, such as those with hypertension or a history of a heart attack, maybe prescribed Clopidogrel to protect them from a stroke.

This article talks about stroke, and you can recover or prevent one with Clopidogrel.

What Does A Stroke Look Like?

Let’s begin by understanding the types of strokes.

There are three major types:

  • Hemorrhagic stroke: This type of stroke occurs when a blood vessel supplying the brain ruptures, mainly due to bulging or malformed blood vessels.
  • Ischemic stroke: In this case, a blot clot prevents or blocks the blood supply to a part of the brain. Ischemic stroke is the most common type of stroke, consisting of about 87% of all cases.
  • Transient ischemic attack (TIA): In this type of stroke, the blood supply to the brain is inadequate for a brief time. The blood flow resumes shortly, and the symptoms resolve on their own.

As discussed before, stroke is an emergency condition. The sooner a person having a stroke gets medical treatment, the better is the outcome.

Knowing the signs and symptoms may help you recognize them and act quickly. Some common symptoms include:

  • Weakness or numbness in the face, arm, leg, or one part of the body
  • Paralysis
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty in understanding speech or speaking
  • Vision problems
  • Slurred speech
  • Loss of coordination or balance
  • Trouble walking
  • A severe, sudden headache
  • Dizziness
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Anyone having the mentioned symptoms needs immediate medical attention. Prompt action may prevent long-term disability, brain damage, and death.

Besides, some signs may be different in men and women

Symptoms of stroke in women are:

  • Hallucination
  • General weakness
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Pain
  • Losing consciousness or fainting
  • Trouble breathing or shortness of breath
  • Disorientation, confusion, or lack of responsiveness 
  • Seizures
  • Sudden changes in behavior, especially agitation

Women are more prone to morbidity and mortality associated with stroke, and thus it is even more critical to spot the symptoms of stroke in them.

Symptoms of a stroke in men are:

  • Difficulty speaking, slurred speech, and difficulty in understanding others’ speech
  • An uneven smile or drooping on one side of the face
  • Muscle or arm weakness on one side of the body

How Does Clopidogrel Function And Prevent A Stroke?

Clopidogrel belongs to the class of drug called antiplatelets

Platelets are a type of blood cell, which clump together and help to form a clot. In adults, when a blood clot is formed inside the arteries, it blocks the blood flow, which may result in stroke, heart attack, or death. 

Clopidogrel prevents or reduces the chances of such blood clots by making the platelets less sticky.

Damaged arteries are at a high risk of clot formation. This is because platelets, a type of blood cells, are attracted towards the site of damage.

Some proteins and platelets form a plug known as a clot. This clot can block the artery. When this happens in a blood vessel supplying the brain, it can result in a stroke.

Taking Clopidogrel daily prevents platelets from clumping together, preventing the risk of unwanted blood clots

All this aids in protecting from stroke and even a heart attack.

How And When To Use? 

Here are usual instructions to follow while taking Clopidogrel:

  • Take this medicine orally once a day with or without food or as prescribed by your physician.
  • Take this tablet daily at the same time.
  • Follow all the instructions on the prescription label. 
  • Do not stop taking this medication abruptly without consulting your doctor.
  • Do not take it more or less or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor 
  • Do not stop using it even if you feel well
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If You Miss the Dose

  • If you happen to miss a dose of Clopidogrel, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. 
  • However, if it is almost time for the next dose, do not take the missed dose and continue with your next scheduled dose. 
  • Do not take a double dose to compensate for the missed dose. 

Use And Dosage

Clopidogrel can be taken once daily, at the same time every day. You can take it with or without food or as advised by your physician.

Dose

The usual dose is 75 mg a day. However, your dose may be different depending on your age, problem, and various other factors. 

So, always consult a doctor before taking Clopidogrel.

Precautions for its use:

You should not take Clopidogrel if you have the following conditions:

  • Liver disorders
  • Medical condition that may cause bleeding such as stomach ulcer or bleeding within the brain
  • Recent serious injury 
  • Blood disorder that makes you susceptible to internal bleeding
  • Recent surgery (Including dental surgery)
  • Kidney diseases

Talk to your doctor before taking Clopidogrel if:

  • You are taking any other medication, are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning a pregnancy. 
  • You are allergic to Clopidogrel or any of its ingredients or have any other allergies.
  • You are allergic to any other medication.
  • You are taking any other drugs, over-the-counter medicines, herbal products, or nutritional supplements.
  • You have had a clot in an artery of your brain (ischaemic stroke), which occurred within the last seven days.
  • You are lactose intolerant.

Besides, certain medicines may interfere with its working and thus might not be safe to take them together. Some of them are:

This may not be a comprehensive list, and other drugs may interact with Clopidogrel. Please inform your doctor if you are taking any of the medicines listed above.

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Common Side Effects

Like all other medications, Clopidogrel may cause side effects, although it is unlikely to happen in everyone. It is vital that you are aware of what could be the possible side effects.

Most common side effects:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea 
  • Heartburn or indigestion 
  • Bleeding in the stomach or bowels
  • Bruising
  • Hematoma (unusual bleeding or bruising under the skin)
  • Blood in urine
  • Nose bleed
  • Bleeding in the eye
  •  Bleeding in the head
  • Bleeding in lungs
  • Bleeding in joints

Uncommon side effects:

  • Headache
  • Nausea 
  • Constipation 
  • Excessive bloating of the stomach or intestine 
  • Rashes 
  • Stomach ulcer
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Itching 
  • Sensation of tingling or numbness

Rare side effects:

  • Vertigo
  • Gynecomastia (enlargement of breasts in males)

Rare side effects:

  • Jaundice 
  • Fever
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Severe abdominal pain with or without back pain
  • Allergic reactions 
  • Swelling in mouth
  • Joint pain
  • Muscular pain
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations 
  • Decrease in blood pressure 
  • Loss of food taste  

Contact your physician immediately if you experience any of the following:

  • Fever
  • Sign of infection or tiredness
  • Liver problems (Yellowing of skin and/or eyes)
  • Bleeding, which may appear as red dots 
  • Swelling in mouth 
  • Skin disorders such as blisters, rashes, or itching 

This is not a complete list of side effects, and others may occur. Please consult your doctor to know more about other possible side effects.

Final Thoughts

Stroke results when blood and oxygen to a part of the brain is reduced or blocked. In the absence of nutrition, brain cells die quickly, and thus it an emergency condition.

Knowing the common indications can help you spot a stroke and take immediate action. For example, Clopidogrel is an antiplatelet medicine that prevents clot formation by stopping the platelets from sticking or clumping.

If you have hypertension or heart disease, or any other condition that increases the risk of stroke, talk to your doctor about Clopidogrel.


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