Clopidogrel is a blood-thinning medicine. It is used on its own or together with other medicines (e.g. aspirin) to prevent blood clots.
Blood clots that form in a blood vessel can cause a heart attack or a stroke. This medicine helps reduce the risk of harmful blood clots in your body.
Clopidogrel may be used together with aspirin to help reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes in individuals who are of high risk due to the following conditions:
- have had a recent heart attack or stroke
- with a device known as a stent inserted into your heart arteries
- with severe chest pain that occurs randomly or unexpectedly
- with blood circulation problems
This medicine may be used to treat other conditions as decided by your doctor.
Take Clopidogrel exactly as directed by your doctor or according to the instructions on the label. Do not take more or less than instructed by your doctor.
You may take this medicine with or without food. Try to take it at the same time each day.
The dose of this medicine will be decided by your doctor. Your doctor will advise you on the treatment timeframe depending on the type of your condition.
Clopidogrel must be taken regularly for it to be effective. Continue taking this medicine even when you feel better. Do not stop taking it unless instructed by the doctor.
If you miss a dose and it is within less than 12 hours of your usual time, take the missed dose and return to your normal dosing schedule.
If you missed your dose for more than 12 hours, skip the missed dose and return to your normal dosing schedule.
DO NOT double a dose under any circumstances.
If you often forget to take your medicine, let your doctor and pharmacist know.
Alert your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- current bleeding problems e.g. stomach ulcer, bleeding within the brain
- severe liver disease
as Clopidogrel may not be suitable for you.
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- blood disorders
- lesions that make you prone to internal bleeding e.g. stomach or eye lesions
- any other conditions that increase your risk for bleeding e.g. recent trauma or surgery, history of allergies or reactions to certain thienopyridine type of medicines
- moderate liver disease
- kidney disease
Let your doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist before giving Clopidogrel to the elderly.
If you are going to have an operation, including minor surgery and dental work, inform your doctor or dentist that you are taking this medicine.
Certain genetic traits can affect this drug's effectiveness and can enhance the side effects. Patients who are intermediate and poor metabolisers of CYP2C19 may have an increased risk of developing its side effects. In some exceptional cases, your doctor may advise you to take genetic testing to check if this drug is best suited for you.
For as long as you are taking this medicine, you may need to have regular blood tests to check your body’s response to the medicine. Your doctor will advise you about how often you will need to have blood tests. Regular monitoring for any signs of bleeding may also be needed.
Clopidogrel may cause any of the following side effects: diarrhoea, abdominal pain, indigestion, vomiting, constipation, nausea, headache, dizziness, and numbness or tingling sensation in the hands and feet.
Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience any of the following:
- fever, red or purple spots on the skin, unexplained extreme tiredness, confusion
- yellowing of the skin or eyes
- rashes, breathlessness, swollen face, eyes, mouth or throat
This medicine may cause the level of your white blood cells and platelets to drop.
White blood cells help your body to fight infections. A fall in the level of your white blood cells may put you at higher risk for infections, such as coughs, colds, and flu, which may lead to more serious infections. Avoid crowded places and people who are sick. Inform your doctor if you have a fever, or a cough or flu that does not go away.
Platelets help your blood to clot when there is a cut in the skin. A fall in the level of your platelets may put you at risk of bleeding more than usual. Do not take part in activities where you may fall or get injured, such as contact sports. Inform your doctor if you get any unusual bruising (large bruises or several bruises, especially if the bruises appeared on their own), nose bleed, blood in the urine, or bleeding that takes a long time to stop (for example, too much bleeding when you floss or brush your teeth).
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any of these medicines:
- other blood-thinning medicines e.g. warfarin, aspirin, ticlopidine, prasugrel
- medicines for pain and inflammation (NSAIDs) e.g. diclofenac, ibuprofen, naproxen, mefenamic acid
- gastric medicines e.g. omeprazole, esomeprazole
- medicines to treat fungal infections e.g. ketoconazole, fluconazole, voriconazole
- medicines to treat depression e.g. fluvoxamine, fluoxetine, moclobemide
- medicines for epilepsy (fits or seizures) e.g. carbamazepine
- repaglinide (medicine for diabetes)
- paclitaxel (medicine for cancer)
- efavirenz (medicine for HIV infection)
- strong painkillers e.g. morphine
This list does not include all medicines that may interact with Clopidogrel.
Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicines, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
Avoid excessive consumption of grapefruit or grapefruit juice.
Store in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.