Plavix Uses, Side Effects and Precautions

Plavix is used to help monitor cardiac conditions including ACS and post-heart attack or stroke care. Learn all you should about this medication.

Plavix is used as a platelet inhibitor that is prescribed to help combat acute coronary syndrome. These may also be prescribed to help stabilize the patient's condition after a potentially fatal cardiac issue. These side effects are not usually serious, but they will need to be monitored by a doctor to help ensure that your condition is being treated the way it should be. Your doctor should set up a monitoring schedule with you to ensure that your condition is progressing the way it should be.

Indications and Usage

Plavix is used to treat acute coronary syndrome, but may also be used after a myocardial infarction or stroke to reduce the risk of other life threatening vascular issues from occurring. This medication is available in two sizes of tablets which will be prescribed separately depending on what condition is being treated. These should be taken around the same time every day to help keep a steady amount of the drug in their system. These drugs can be taken with or without food, but you may need to take water to help your body absorb the medication effectively. Plavix pills should not be stored at warm temperatures as this can damage the medication.

Plavix Dosage

Plavix is available in 75 and 300 mg forms. Patients will be given one or the other depending on the condition that is being treated and the severity of the condition. Those being treated for acute coronary syndrome will be started on a 300 mg loading dose which will be followed by 75 mg daily. In many cases this dose will be combined with an aspirin regimen and thrombolytic to help stabilize the body. Doses of 75 mg will also be given to those who are recovering from a stroke or peripheral arterial disease.

Patients are not usually given Plavix for a long period of time. Those using this medication will be monitored to determine how their condition improves and your doctor will determine when it is time to adjust your dose or remove Plavix from your regimen. There are currently no studies to help determine the optimum duration that Plavix should be used to treat acute coronary syndrome. You should not adjust your prescription or stop taking Plavix without your doctor's direction to do so. Discontinuing Plavix suddenly can increase the risk of cardiovascular events which could be life threatening.

Those taking CYP2C19 metabolizers may need to adjust their Plavix prescription in order to see optimum effects. Those using proton pump inhibitors should also discuss their dosing with their doctor to help ensure that they can take their medication safely.

Plavix has been rated pregnancy category B, which means there is some risk to taking this medication while you are pregnant. Talk these risks over with your doctor before you continue your prescription to ensure that this is safe. You should not use Plavix while you are breastfeeding as it can be transferred to your infant which may cause an adverse reaction.

Children have not been shown to benefit from the use of Plavix. Those who are suffering from a cardiac condition, it may be more beneficial to use an aspirin regimen. Talk with your doctor about these risks and potential benefits before you start your child on Plavix.

Elderly patients may be at an increased risk of bleeding while using Plavix. Talk with your doctor about this risk and make sure you have a plan set up to help watch for this condition so you can get treatment right away if excessive bleeding begins to occur.

Plavix Side Effects

Side effects for Plavix are not common, usually occurring in less than 8 percent of users for any particular condition. The most regularly occurring side effects include headache in 7.6 percent of users, flu like symptoms in 7.5 percent, dizziness in 6.2 percent, pain in 5.6 percent, bruising in 5.3 percent, upset stomach in 5.2 percent, diarrhea in 4.5 percent, unexplained rash in 4.2 percent, major bleeding in 3.7 percent, and itchy skin in 3.3 percent. These side effects are not usually serious, but should be reported to your doctor to ensure that you are being treated the way you should be. If you begin to experience major bleeding, this could be extremely serious or potentially fatal. Contact emergency medical services to get help if you begin to have trouble with bleeding or cannot seem to get bleeding to stop.

Other side effects, occurring in less than 2 percent of users, include bloody nose, tarry stools, blood in the urine, red or purple spots on the skin, vomiting blood, and itchy skin or rash. These side effects are often associated with bleeding or blood issues. These should be reported to your doctor right away so you can be tested for bleeding or blood thinning which may cause additional serious conditions.

Severe side effects include decreases in platelets, decrease in immune cells, stomach bleeding, constipation, urinary tract infection, ulcers, fatigue, high blood pressure, depression, joint pain, difficulty breathing, anemia or thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. If any of these side effects begin to occur, contact your doctor right away. If your trouble breathing or other symptoms make you feel as though you might lose consciousness, contact emergency medical services immediately to get assistance.

In some cases, allergic reactions to Plavix have occurred. If any side effects including rash, itching skin, trouble breathing, swelling or hives begin to come on suddenly, then contact poison control or emergency medical services immediately to get help. Have any information about your dosing and how recently it was taken ready if possible.


Those using CYP2C19 inhibitors or proton pump inhibitors may not be able to use Plavix, especially in conjunction with omeprazole or esomeprazole. These can affect the level of the platelets in your blood which will affect your risk of bleeding. For similar reasons you should avoid using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory NSAIDS, or warfarin. If you are on these medications or those which are similar, let your doctor know before you start using Plavix to avoid a potentially serious reaction.

Depending on the nature of the situation, your doctor may prescribe a low sodium diet or exercise changes to assist in the recovery of your cardiac condition. These types of adjustments should not be made without consulting with your doctor as some exercise routines may not be safe to do shortly after a cardiac event.



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