Side Effects of Clopidogrel
Most people tolerate clopidogrel (Plavix) well. However, as with any drug, side effects may occur with clopidogrel. When side effects do occur, they may include such things as major bleeding, headache, bruising, flu-like symptoms, and dizziness. Less common side effects of clopidogrel may include stomach bleeding or ulcers, constipation, fatigue, and high blood pressure.
As with any medicine, there are possible side effects that may occur with clopidogrel bisulfate (sold under the brand name Plavix®); however, not everyone who takes clopidogrel will experience side effects. In fact, most people tolerate clopidogrel well. When side effects do occur, in most cases they are minor, meaning they require no treatment or are easily treated by you or your healthcare provider. In previous research studies, up to 13 percent of people taking clopidogrel stopped their medicine because of side effects.
(The side effects of clopidogrel discussed below are not a complete list of side effects reported with clopidogrel. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list of clopidogrel side effects with you.)
Clopidogrel has been studied thoroughly in clinical trials, with over 17,500 people having been evaluated. In these studies, side effects are always documented and compared to those that occur in a similar group of people not taking the medicine. The clopidogrel side effects mentioned below occurred in more than 2 percent of people. They also occurred more often in the group taking clopidogrel. These common side effects associated with clopidogrel included:
- Major bleeding -- up to 3.7 percent of people
- Flu-like symptoms -- up to 7.5 percent
- Headache -- up to 7.6 percent
- Dizziness -- up to 6.2 percent
- Pain -- up to 5.6 percent
- Diarrhea -- up to 4.5 percent
- Upset stomach or indigestion (dyspepsia) -- 5.2 percent
- Bruising -- 5.3 percent
- Bloody nose -- 2.9 percent
- Unexplained rash -- 4.2 percent
- Itchy skin -- 3.3 percent.
Because clopidogrel can increase the risk for major or life-threatening bleeding, contact your doctor immediately if you notice that it takes longer than usual for bleeding to stop, you have any unusual bleeding, or you have any of the following symptoms:
- Bloody nose
- Black, tarry stools
- Blood in the urine or stools
- Vomiting blood
- Red or purple spots on the skin
- Itchy skin or rash.