What is Clopidogrel?
Clopidogrel is a prescriptional, antiplatelet medication, commonly known as blood thinners. It is mainly used to prevent or lower the risk of blood clots, heart attack, stroke, or peripheral artery disease (a condition with poor blood circulation). It may be prescribed alone or in combination with other drugs for the same.
What are the uses of Clopidogrel?
Clopidogrel belongs to the category of antiplatelet medications.
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.
Clopidogrel can be prescribed for the following conditions;
- Atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries when fat, cholesterol, and other substances block the wall of arteries)
- Heart attack or stroke or severe chest pain
- Peripheral artery disease (a condition with poor blood circulation)
- Atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat)
Clopidogrel is also used during various heart procedures and surgeries, such as coronary artery bypass grafting and percutaneous coronary intervention, to prevent the risk of clot formation.
The medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your physician or pharmacist for detailed information.
How do you use 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 than often than prescribed by your doctor
- Do not stop using it even if you feel well
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.
What are the side-effects and risks of Clopidogrel?
Like all other medications, Clopidogrel may cause side effects. Although it is unlikely to happen in everyone, it is important that you are aware of what could be the possible side effects.
Most common side effects:
- Abdominal pain
- Heartburn or indigestion
- Bleeding in the stomach or bowels
- 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:
- Excessive bloating of the stomach or intestine
- Stomach ulcer
- Sensation of tingling or numbness
Rare side effects:
- Gynecomastia (enlargement of breasts in males)
Rare side effects:
- Breathing difficulties
- Severe abdominal pain with or without back pain
- Allergic reactions
- Swelling in mouth
- Joint pain
- Muscular pain
- Decrease in blood pressure
- Loss of food taste
Contact your physician immediately if you experience any of the following:
- 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.
Who should not take Clopidogrel?
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.
When should you not take Clopidogrel?
You should not take Clopidogrel if:
- It has passed the expiry date of the medicine printed on the pack.
- The packaging shows signs of tampering.