Clopidogrel Side Effects – Common and Rare!

Clopidogrel Side Effects

Clopidogrel (a.k.a brand name Plavix) is a medication used to prevent abnormal blood coagulation that can occur following a stroke or a heart attack. It is commonly sold under the brand name Plavix, and its mechanism of action is to prevent the atypical clumping of platelets together which can lead to clotting. While blood coagulation in itself is a normal and healthy function of the body that is necessary to stop bleeding and promote healing, this medication is used to prevent it when the risk of dangerous clots is high.

Clopidogrel is used often in patients who have had a clot that has led to complications; however it is also considered a preventative medication as well. In people who have thick blood and are at increased risk of clot formation due to certain types of illnesses or diseases, Clopidogrel may be prescribed to thin out the thick blood and reduce the risk of later developing clots. But, regardless of use, there are some Clopidogrel side effects to consider that may make the top selling drug less appealing to some.

Clopidogrel shares some common side effects with other similar blood thinning drugs like Coumadin. For instance, it may be more difficult for users to heal following an injury as the blood is intentionally less prone to clotting. This means that a serious injury can be even more problematic for people taking blood thinning drugs because there is an increased risk of excessive blood loss. But, this effect is not strictly associated with Clopidogrel, and is an unfortunate reality of most blood thinning medications.

Common Clopidogrel side effects include itching, which can be a nuisance for some people. Gastrointestinal upset may also occur in some users and can include gastritis and diarrhea. A rash or respiratory infection have been reported in some users. Many of these common adverse effects exist for people taking all sorts of prescription medications and are rarely serious. However, there are some rare but very serious Clopidogrel side effects to consider as well.

Sudden effects like numbness or weakness on one side of the body can signal big problems for users of Clopidogrel and although rare, these have been found in some users. Additionally, confusion, speech problems and severe headaches have also occurred, sometimes suddenly. Blood in the stools or in the urine can also occur in a small percentage of users of Clopidogrel as well. Any of these serious Clopidogrel side effects should prompt users to seek medical attention immediately.

The continued use of Plavix or its generic version has also led to some serious health concerns in rare cases. Neutropenia has occurred in a small percentage of users and refers to a decrease in white blood cells. Hemorrhages in the G.I. tract and in the brain have also occurred and are more likely to occur if the medication is used co concurrently with aspirin. Chest pain and generalized swelling have also been encountered in some users.

Clopidogrel side effects can be serious and in rare cases, even life threatening. And, this has prompted some to opt instead for a daily aspirin regimen or various natural blood thinners instead. Many foods can serve the body to help thin the blood such as blueberries and pomegranates. And, there are also some blood thinning herbs to consider as well such as garlic. Garlic has been proven to thin the blood and reduce blood pressure too. And, lifestyle changes may be the most significant if they are contributing to an increased risk of clots. In fact, quitting smoking (which thickens the blood) losing weight, and increasing mobility can be some of the best options for prevention of clots. It is important to note however that while natural and alternative options do exist for keeping blood of a healthy consistency flowing throughout the body, medical attention should be sought immediately if any blood clot symptoms present such as a warm or red area on the skin. Delay could result in a late diagnosis of underlying health conditions which could contribute to a poor prognosis.

Blood thinners side effects can be worrisome, however it is very important that those who have been prescribed these medications continue taking them until their concerns can be addressed by a health care provider unless serious or rare Clopidogrel side effects occur. This is because these medications are prescribed because their benefits are thought to outweigh the risks associated with taking them. When prescribed as blood clot treatment, especially following a heart attack or stroke, the medications can prove to be effective at reducing the risk of death from complications from blood clots. Anyone concerned about Clopidogrel side effects should discuss them with their prescribing health care provider to determine if the medication is the best choice for treatment and whether or not other options exist either medicinal or otherwise to reduce the risk of serious complication that can arise from blood clots.

References:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clopidogrel
http://www.rxlist.com/plavix-drug/indications-dosage.htm
http://www.drugs.com/plavix.html
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/10/10/plavix-health-risks.aspx

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