What is clopidogrel?
Clopidogrel keeps the platelets in your blood from coagulating (clotting) to prevent unwanted blood clots that can occur with certain heart or blood vessel conditions.
Clopidogrel is used to prevent blood clots after a recent heart attack or stroke, and in people with certain disorders of the heart or blood vessels.
Clopidogrel may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What is the most important information I should know about clopidogrel?
Clopidogrel keeps your blood from coagulating (clotting) to prevent unwanted blood clots that can occur with certain heart or blood vessel conditions. Because of this drug action, clopidogrel can make it easier for you to bleed, even from a minor injury. Contact your doctor or seek emergency medical attention if you have bleeding that will not stop.
You may also have bleeding on the inside of your body, such as in your stomach or intestines. Call your doctor at once if you have black or bloody stools, or if you cough up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds. These could be signs of bleeding in your digestive tract.
Avoid drinking alcohol. It may increase your risk of bleeding in your stomach or intestines.
If you need surgery or dental work, tell the surgeon or dentist ahead of time that you are using clopidogrel. You may need to stop using the medicine for at least 5 days before having surgery, to prevent excessive bleeding. Follow your doctor's instructions and start taking clopidogrel again as soon as possible.
While you are taking clopidogrel, do not take aspirin or other NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) without your doctor's advice. NSAIDs include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn, Naprelan, Treximet), celecoxib (Celebrex), diclofenac (Cataflam, Voltaren), indomethacin (Indocin), meloxicam (Mobic), and others.
Tell your doctor about all other medicines you use to prevent blood clots.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking clopidogrel?
Do not use this medication if you are allergic to clopidogrel, or if you have any active bleeding such as a stomach ulcer or bleeding in the brain (such as from a head injury).
If you have any of these other conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests:
a bleeding or blood clotting disorder, such as TTP (thrombocytopenic purpura) or hemophilia;
a history of stroke, including TIA ("mini-stroke");
a stomach ulcer or ulcerative colitis; or
FDA pregnancy category B. This medication is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.
It is not known whether clopidogrel passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are taking clopidogrel.