Clopidogrel is a type of antiplatelet medications, that prevents platelets from collecting and forming clots. Clopidogrel is used alone or with aspirin to prevent serious or life-threatening problems with the heart and blood vessels in people who have had a stroke, heart attack, or severe chest pain, this will include:
- percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI)
- coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG)
- peripheral arterial disease (poor circulation in the blood vessels that supply blood to the legs)
- atrial fibrillation (a condition in which the heart beats irregularly)
Clopidogrel is usually orall taken once a day in tablets with or without food.
Clopidogrel must be changed to an active form in your body so that it can treat your condition. Some people do not change clopidogrel to its active form in the body as well as other people. Because the medication does not work as well in these people, they may be at a higher risk of having a heart attack or stroke. There are tests available to identify people who have trouble changing clopidogrel to an active form. It’s called CYP2C19 Genotyping test. Learn more about the test from this article.
Talk to your doctor about whether you should be tested. If you are found to have difficulty converting clopidogrel to its active form, your doctor may change your dose of clopidogrel or tell you not to take clopidogrel.
Common side effects of Clopidogrel include:
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- black and tarry stools
- red blood in stools
- bloody vomit
- vomit that looks like coffee grounds
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- pink or brown urine
- slow or difficult speech
- weakness or numbness of an arm or a leg
- changes in vision
- shortness of breath
- fast heartbeat
- pale skin
- purple patches or bleeding under the skin
- yellowing of the skin or eyes
Some side effects can be dangerous, and you need to let your doctor know if you develop any of the above.