Clopidogrel is used to prevent heart attacks and strokes in persons with heart disease (recent heart attack), recent stroke, or blood circulation disease (peripheral vascular disease).
It is also used with aspirin to treat new/worsening chest pain (new heart attack, unstable angina) and to keep blood vessels open and prevent blood clots after certain procedures (such as cardiac stent).
Clopidogrel works by blocking platelets from sticking together and prevents them from forming harmful clots. It is an antiplatelet drug. It helps keep blood flowing smoothly in your body.
OTHER USES: This section contains uses of this drug that are not listed in the approved professional labeling for the drug but that may be prescribed by your health care professional. Use this drug for a condition that is listed in this section only if it has been so prescribed by your health care professional.
This medication may also be used to prevent heart attacks and strokes in persons with irregular heartbeat (atrial fibrillation).
Read the Medication Guide provided by your pharmacist before you start taking clopidogrel and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Take this medication by mouth with or without food as directed by your doctor, usually once daily. Take this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time each day.
The dosage and length of treatment are based on your medical condition and response to treatment. If you are taking this medication to prevent clots after a stent implant or other procedure, take this medication with aspirin for many months to years after the procedure (depending on the procedure/type of stent) as directed by your doctor. Consult your doctor for more details and about the risks of stopping early. It is important to continue taking this medication even if you feel well. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.
Avoid eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice while using this medication unless your doctor or pharmacist says you may do so safely. Grapefruit can increase the chance of side effects with this medicine. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details.
Get medical help right away if you have any signs that this medication is not working, such as symptoms of a new heart attack or stroke (such as chest/jaw/left arm pain, shortness of breath, unusual sweating, weakness on one side of the body, slurred speech, sudden vision changes, confusion).
Easy bleeding/bruising, stomach upset/pain, diarrhea, and constipation may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Although unlikely, serious bleeding in the stomach, gut, eyes, or brain may occur. Also, clopidogrel can rarely cause a very serious blood disorder (thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura-TTP). Symptoms may appear any time after starting this medication. Get medical help right away if any of these symptoms occur: severe stomach/abdominal pain, uncontrolled bleeding from gums or nose, bloody/black stools, confusion, fever, extreme skin paleness, purple skin patches, fainting, fast heartbeat, sudden severe headache, unusual weakness/tiredness, vomit with blood or that looks like coffee grounds, slurred speech, vision changes, seizures, yellowing eyes/skin, bloody/red/pink/dark urine, change in amount of urine.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Before taking clopidogrel, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to similar antiplatelet drugs (thienopyridines such as prasugrel); or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: bleeding conditions (such as stomach ulcers, bleeding in the brain/eye), recent surgery, serious injury/trauma, liver disease, bleeding disease (such as hemophilia).
To lower the chance of getting cut, bruised, or injured, use caution with sharp objects like razors and nail cutters, and avoid activities such as contact sports.
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products). Your doctor may instruct you to stop clopidogrel for 5 to 7 days before surgery. Do not stop taking clopidogrel without talking with your heart doctor (cardiologist) first.
This medicine may cause stomach bleeding. Daily use of alcohol while using this medicine may increase your risk for stomach bleeding. Limit alcoholic beverages. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about how much alcohol you may safely drink.
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
It is unknown if this drug passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
See also How to Use section.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
A product that may interact with this drug is: tipranavir.
If you are currently taking aspirin, consult your doctor promptly and ask whether to continue or stop taking it with this medication for your specific condition (aspirin and clopidogrel may be used in combination after a coronary stent procedure, or for some heart conditions). If you are not currently taking aspirin, consult your doctor before starting it for any medical condition.
Other medications can affect the removal of clopidogrel from your body, which may affect how clopidogrel works. Examples include certain acid reducers (proton pump inhibitors/PPIs such as omeprazole, esomeprazole), fluvoxamine, fluoxetine, cimetidine, fluconazole, ketoconazole, voriconazole, etravirine, felbamate, and ticlopidine, among others. Promptly ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details.
Do not use non-prescription medications that contain PPIs (such as omeprazole, esomeprazole) or cimetidine for relief of upset stomach or heartburn. These medications can prevent clopidogrel from working well. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about safer alternatives such as liquid antacids, ranitidine, or famotidine.
Check all prescription and nonprescription medicine labels carefully since many medications contain pain relievers/fever reducers (NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, naproxen, or aspirin). These drugs may increase the risk of bleeding/antiplatelet effect when used with clopidogrel. Ask your pharmacist about using these products safely.
If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.
Do not share this medication with others.
Laboratory and/or medical tests (such as complete blood count) may be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.
If you miss a dose, use it as soon as you remember. If it is less than 12 hours before your next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
MEDICAL ALERT: Your condition can cause complications in a medical emergency. For information about enrolling in MedicAlert, call 1-888-633-4298 (US) or 1-800-668-1507 (Canada).
Information last revised July 2014. Copyright(c) 2014 First Databank, Inc.
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