Heart Disease Home > Clopidogrel

Clopidogrel is a medication used to prevent harmful blood clots from forming. It may be given to people who have recently experienced a heart attack, a stroke, or severe chest pain requiring hospitalization. Clopidogrel may also be used to prevent blood clots in people with poor circulation. The medication comes in tablet form and is typically taken once daily. Side effects include flu-like symptoms, major bleeding, and headaches.

What Is Clopidogrel?

Clopidogrel bisulfate is a medication that is used to prevent harmful blood clots from forming in people who have had a recent heart attack, stroke, or severe chest pain requiring hospitalization.

Who Makes It?

Brand-name clopidogrel is sold under the name Plavix® and is manufactured by Bristol-Myers Squibb in conjunction with Sanofi-Aventis Pharmaceuticals. It is also available in generic form, made by various manufacturers (see Generic Plavix for more information).

What Is Clopidogrel Used For?

As mentioned, clopidogrel is licensed to prevent blood clots from forming after a heart attack, stroke, or chest pain that requires hospitalization. Also, the medication may be used to prevent clots in people with poor circulation, such as those who have peripheral artery disease (PAD). Preventing blood clots from forming and blocking blood vessels helps reduce the risk of having another related heart attack or stroke.
(Click What Is Clopidogrel Used For? for more information on these uses.)

How Does It Work?

Clopidogrel affects platelets (a type of blood cell), which clump together to form clots and stop bleeding in the event of a cut or injury. It is part of a class of drugs called antiplatelet medications (or blood thinners). Antiplatelet medications help prevent platelets from sticking together and forming a potentially harmful clot. This helps your blood flow more easily. Clots that form in blood vessels can block the blood flow to important organs, such as the heart or brain, and may lead to heart attacks and strokes. As a result, clopidogrel reduces the risk of having a future event, while also improving blood circulation in people with peripheral vascular disease.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
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