by on April 23, 2012
Brand Names:Plavix
Generic name:clopigodrel
Pregnancy Category:C
Half-life:7 - 8 hours

What is Plavix?

Plavix exists within a class of prescription medications that are termed, “platelet aggregation inhibitors or antiplatelets.”  It is a blood thinner manufactured by Sanofi-Aventis, and is known medically as “clopidogrel bisulfate”.  This drug effectively prevents platelet coagulation which is quite common in patients who suffer with heart conditions and other blood vessel abnormalities.  It is the drug of choice by many doctors as it is helpful in treating clotting that might be stemming from, or the cause of heart problems, strokes, and many other circulatory issues, specifically atherosclerosis.

In normal, healthy patients the platelets in the body assist with clotting when you cut yourself, or you experience some other minor medical issue.  However, when a patient’s body has extensive artery narrowing, due to a buildup of fatty deposits, the platelets have a tendency to bunch together, forming a blood clot.  This leads to further strain on the blood vessels and arteries of the body.  Plavix minimizes this adverse condition by preventing the platelets from having the ability to mass together, thus keeping the arteries free and clear.

Plavix comes in two different strengths.  It can be prescribed in a 75mg pink, film coated tablet, or it can be prescribed as a 300 mg coated tablet form.  Plavix should not be taken by just anyone.  If you have any type of allergies to clopidogrel, or any of the active ingredients within the medication then you should not take Plavix.  Furthermore, if you have stomach ulcers, or any condition that causes bleeding in the brain, you shouldn’t take this drug.  People who have liver disease are also not viable candidates for Plavix.  This is not a drug that would be considered safe for children, as it is not known if it causes any adverse effects for that age bracket.

Plavix Uses

Plavix is used to treat patients who are in danger of a stroke or heart attack from blood clots. Patients who have already had a stroke or heart attack may be put on Plavix to help prevent another occurrence. Chest pains related to heart attacks, known as acute coronary syndrome (ACS) can be treated with Plavix as well. This medication is also an effective treatment for peripheral artery disease (PAD) which is characterized by poor circulation in the legs.

plavixPlavix may be taken in conjunction with aspirin or another blood thinner. However, patients should always consult their doctor in regards to adding an aspirin regimen to this treatment to avoid serious side effects.

How to Take Plavix Properly

For patients who suffer with an acute form of coronary artery disease, the initial treatment begins with the 300 mg dosage, termed the “loading dosage.”  Following this, a patient can be switched to the 75 mg of Plavix, normally taken one time a day.  There are several circumstances that come into play when determining the exact dosage requirements for a patient.  Some of these are:  body weight, possible other medical conditions, and any other medications that you might be taking.  The dosage that your doctor recommends should always be followed and not changed.  This can also be taken with or without food.

If at any point you miss a dose of your medication within the 12 hour time frame, take that as soon as possible.  If the time has exceeded more than 12 hours simply skip this dose and continue with your normal dosage schedule.

Since this is an extremely potent blood thinning agent, take care when working around sharp utensils or tasks where you could injure yourself easily.  Furthermore, no surgical procedures can be carried out while you are on Plavix, so ensure that your primary care physician, dentist, and any other specialized care physician are aware that you’re taking this prescription drug.