Plavix tablets belong to a group of medicines called antiplatelet drugs. Platelets are very small structures in blood, smaller than red or white blood cells, which clump together during blood clotting.
By preventing this clumping, antiplatelet drugs reduce the chances of blood clots forming (a process called thrombosis).
What is Plavix used for?
You have been prescribed Plavix because you are at risk for experiencing unwanted blood clots (thrombi). These blood clots can lead to symptoms which present in different manners, such as strokes, unstable angina, heart attacks, or peripheral arterial disease (leg pain on walking or at rest). Plavix is taken to prevent further blood clots from forming thereby reducing the risk of having unstable angina, a heart attack or another stroke.
This product has been prescribed for you personally and you should not pass it on to others.
What you should tell your doctor before treatment with Plavix
It is necessary that you advise your doctor of any serious medical problems you have had or currently have, as these conditions could affect the action of Plavix.
If you have experienced or are currently experiencing any of the following listed below, it is necessary that you tell your doctor before starting treatment:
- You have had an allergic reaction to any of the substances contained in the tablets.
- You have a medical condition that is causing bleeding such as a stomach ulcer.
- You are taking any other medicines (such as ASA, other drugs used to reduce blood clotting such as warfarin and heparin or Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs [drugs used to treat painful and/or inflammatory conditions of muscles or joints]), including those that you buy without a prescription.
- While you are on Plavix it is important that you do not take any medicine other than that prescribed by your doctor. If you should see another doctor or a dentist while you are using Plavix, you should inform them that you are using Plavix.
- You have had a recent serious injury.
- You have liver disease or damage.
- You have recently undergone surgery (including dental surgery).
- You have a blood disorder that makes you prone to internal bleeding (bleeding inside any tissues, organs or joints of your body) or tend to bleed longer than 10 minutes without taking any drugs.
What if you experience prolonged bleeding when taking Plavix?
If you cut or injure yourself, it may take slightly longer than usual for bleeding to stop. This is linked to the way your medicine works. For minor cuts and injuries e.g., cutting yourself shaving, this is of no concern. However, if you are in any doubt at all, you should contact your doctor immediately.
Will Plavix have any effects on your ability to drive or operate machinery?
Your ability to drive or operate complicated machinery should not be affected.
How should Plavix be taken?
Adults (including the elderly): You should take one 75 mg tablet of Plavix per day, by mouth. Plavix can be taken with or without food. You should take your medicine regularly and at the same time each day. If you have had unstable angina or a heart attack, a one-time 300 mg dose may be administered followed by one 75 mg tablet daily.
Children and adolescents: Plavix is not recommended for children or adolescents below 18 years of age.
How long should you continue to take Plavix?
Plavix should be taken long term under supervision of your doctor.
What if you take too many Plavix tablets at once?
If you take an overdose of tablets inform your doctor at once or go to the nearest hospital emergency department. A large dose of tablets could put you at risk of serious bleeding requiring emergency treatment.
What if you miss a dose of Plavix?
If you forget to take a dose of Plavix, but remember within 12 hours of your usual time, take your tablet immediately and then take your next tablet at the normal time. If you forget for more than 12 hours simply take the next single dose at the usual time. Do not take a double dose to make up for the one you missed. You can check the day on which you last took a tablet of Plavix by referring to the calendar printed on the blister strip.
What are the side effects of Plavix?
Occasional side effects reported with Plavix are:
- Rashes and/or itching
- Abdominal pain
- Indigestion or heartburn
- Bleeding in the stomach, bowels or into the eye
- Hepatic (liver) and biliary (bile) disorders
- Generalised allergic reactions such as swelling of the face, lips and/or tongue, shortness of breath
- Bleeding from blood vessels inside the head has been reported in a very small number of cases.
If you notice any undesirable effects, especially during the first few weeks of treatment, including any not mentioned above, promptly notify your doctor for assessment and follow-up.
How should your Plavix tablets be stored?
Plavix tablets should be stored in a safe place and be kept out of the reach of children. Do not leave them near a radiator, on a window sill or in a humid place. Do not remove tablets from the blister pack until you are ready to take them.
What do Plavix tablets contain?
Besides Plavix (clopidogrel), the tablets contain a number of other nonmedicinal ingredients. Some people may be sensitive or allergic to one or more of these ingredients, which are:
- microcrystalline cellulose
- low substituted hydroxypropylcellulose
- polyethylene glycol 6000
- hydrogenated castor oil
- titanium dioxide
- red iron oxide
What do Plavix tablets look like?
Plavix tablets are round, pink and engraved on one side with the number 75 and the number 1171 on the other side. They are supplied in cartons containing a blister card of 28 tablets.