Clopidogrel

Sounds like 'kloh-PID-oh-grel'

Easy-to-read medicine information about clopidogrel – what it is, how to take clopidogrel safely and possible side effects.

Type of medicine Also called
  • Blood-thinning medication
  • Belongs to a group of medicines known as anti-platelets
  • Arrow-Clopid®
  • Plavix®


What is clopidogrel?

  • Clopidogrel is used as a 'blood thinner' to prevent clots forming in blood vessels. It works by blocking certain blood cells called platelets and prevents them from forming harmful blood clots. In this way it reduces the risk of stroke and heart attack.
  • It is also used with aspirin to treat new or worsening chest pain (new heart attack, unstable angina) and to keep blood vessels open and prevent blood clots after certain procedures (such as cardiac stent, coronary artery bypass graft-CABG, balloon angioplasty).
  • Clopidogrel is available as a tablet.

Dose

  • The usual dose of clopidogrel is 75 milligrams once a day.
  • Always take your clopidogrel exactly as your doctor has told you.
  • The pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much clopidogrel to take, how often to take it, and any special instructions. 

How to take clopidogrel

  • Take clopidogrel once a day, at the same time each day.
  • Swallow your clopidogrel tablet with a glass of water.
  • You can take clopidogrel with or without food.
  • If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember that day. If it is less than 12 hours until your next dose, wait until the next day and take your normal dose. Do not take 2 doses on the same day.

Possible side effects

Like all medicines, clopidogrel can cause unwanted side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often unwanted side effects improve as your body gets used to the new medicine.

Side effects What should I do?
  • Stomach upset or indigestion
  • Try taking clopidogrel with or after a meal.
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome.
  • Signs of bleeding in the digestive tract such as dark-coloured vomit, or dark stools
  • Other signs of bleeding such as unusual bleeding or bruising, nose bleeds, headache, dizziness, feeling faint
  • Tell your doctor immediately or ring HealthLine 0800 611 116
  • Allergic reaction such as skin rash, itching, swelling of the lips, face, and mouth or difficulty breathing
  • Tell your doctor immediately or ring HealthLine 0800 611 116

Interactions

  • Clopidogrel may interact with medicines available without a prescription such as anti-inflammatories for example ibuprofen, diclophenac, naproxen.
  • Clopidogrel may also interact with other medications and herbal supplements, so check with your doctor or pharmacist.

Learn more

The following external links provide further information on clopidogrel:

Medsafe Consumer Information: Plavix

New Zealand Formulary Patient Information: Clopidogrel

Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist. Reviewed By: Dr J Bycroft. Health Navigator NZ Last reviewed: 28 Jul 2015