August 27, 2014
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Drug Factsheets

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Plavix

(clopidogrel)

DIN (Drug Identification Number)

02238682 PLAVIX 75MG TABLET
02330555 PLAVIX 300MG TABLET

What side effects are possible with Plavix?

Many medications can cause side-effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.

The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.

The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.

Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.

  • diarrhea
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • heartburn
  • joint or muscle pain
  • nausea
  • vomiting

Although most of the side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not seek medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

  • abdominal pain
  • flu-like symptoms (sudden lack of energy, fever, cough, sore throat)
  • signs of bleeding (e.g., nosebleeds, blood in urine, coughing blood, bleeding gums, unusual bruising or bleeding)
  • signs of depression (e.g., poor concentration, changes in weight, changes in sleep, decreased interest in activities, thoughts of suicide)
  • skin rash or itching
  • symptoms of liver problems (i.e., yellowing of the skin or eyes, dark urine, light coloured stools, vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain)
  • tingling sensation in the hands, arms, feet, or legs

Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:

  • chest pain
  • signs of bleeding in the stomach (e.g., bloody, black, or  tarry stools; spitting up blood; vomiting blood or material that looks like coffee grounds)
  • signs of a serious allergic reaction (i.e., swelling of face or throat, hives, or difficulty breathing)

Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.





Are there any other precautions or warnings for Plavix?

Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.

HEALTH CANADA ADVISORY

September 22, 2011

Health Canada has issued new information concerning the use of Plavix® (clopidogrel). To read the full Health Canada Advisory, visit Health Canada's web site at www.hc-sc.gc.ca.

Bleeding problems: Clopidogrel increases the risk of bleeding. Using other medications (e.g., warfarin, NSAIDs) may further increase the risk of bleeding. If you have a history of bleeding disorders you should be monitored by your doctor while taking this medication.

If you have a history of bleeding disorders, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.

If you experience signs of serious or excessive bleeding (e.g., bleeding from rectum, easy bruising, bloody urine, dark stools, persistent abdominal pain and vomiting), contact your doctor immediately.

Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura is a rare condition that may occur while taking clopidogrel and requires immediate medical attention. Signs include decreased number of blood cells, reduced kidney function, and fever. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of these symptoms while taking this medication.

Kidney function: If you have reduced kidney function or kidney disease, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.

Lactose intolerance: This medication contains lactose. If you have galactose intolerance (galactosemia, glucose-galactose malabsorption, or Lapp lactase deficiency) you should not take this medication.

Liver function: If you have reduced liver function or liver disease, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.

People with severely reduced liver function should not take clopidogrel.

Proton pump inhibitors: Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are medications such as omeprazole and lansoprazole that are taken to treat stomach ulcers and severe heartburn. When clopidogrel is taken by people also taking a PPI, clopidogrel is less effective. If you are taking a medication in this class, discuss with your doctor whether you should continue to take it, or whether another medication may be more appropriate.

Stomach problems: Since clopidogrel can increase the risk of bleeding and slow down the time it takes to form a clot, it is important to remind your doctor if you have had stomach ulcers. Ask the doctor or your pharmacist to review your medications if they may cause stomach ulcers (e.g., NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and others).

Surgery: Your doctor may want to stop clopidogrel for a few days prior to any planned surgery to prevent any unnecessary bleeding, so it is important to tell any doctors that you are taking clopidogrel.

Pregnancy: The medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.

Breast-feeding: It is not known if clopidogrel passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking this medication, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding

Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children.

What other drugs could interact with Plavix?

There may be an interaction between clopidogrel and any of the following:

  • acetylsalicylic acid (ASA)
  • antacids
  • cimetidine
  • delavirdine
  • efavirenz
  • fluoxetine
  • fluvoxamine
  • gemfibrozil
  • ginger
  • ginkgo biloba
  • ginseng
  • heparin
  • isoniazid
  • ketoconazole
  • modafinil
  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs; e.g., ibuprofen, diclofenac, ketorolac, naproxen)
  • proton pump inhibitors (PPIs; e.g., esomeprazole, lansoprazole, omeprazole, pantoprazole)
  • sertraline
  • ticlopidine
  • warfarin

If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:

  • stop taking one of the medications,
  • change one of the medications to another,
  • change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
  • leave everything as is.

An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.

Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.

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