Plavix, also known by its generic name clopidogrel, reduces the likelihood of heart attack and stroke. Plavix is an antiplatelet drug that works by preventing formation of blood clots within vessels of the body, according to PubMed Health. The MayoClinic.com states most people taking plavix have already had a heart attack or stroke or have other blood circulation issues problems. Plavix has many beneficial affects, but may cause excessive bleeding and bruising, according to MayoClinic.com.
A heart attack or stroke occurs from a blood vessel located in either heart or brain being blocked by a block clot. Plavix reduces the chances of blood clot formation by preventing certain cells in the blood from sticking and clumping together, according to MayoClinic.com. Plavix will only prevent heart attack and stroke if it's taken as directed. PubMed Health recommends that patients continue taking Plavix even if they feel well.
Mitral valve disease patients are sometimes prescribed Plavix to prevent blood clots, according to PubMed Health. Mitral valve disease is a condition in which the left atrial chamber of the heart is separated from the ventricular chamber. In mitral valve disease, the mitral valve does not closing tightly, thus increasing the susceptibility of clots to form.
Peripheral artery disease, or PAD, patients also may be prescribed Plavix to reduce blood clot formation in the legs. Blood clots in the legs can eventually break free and travel to the heart or brain, causing heart attack or stroke.
Although Plavix provides many benefits, it also may cause some unwanted side effects. MayoClinic.com cites common side effects as chest pain, cough, red or purple spots on skin, runny nose and sneezing. Less common side effects include fainting, frequent urination, painful urination, shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat, joint pain, nosebleed, and swelling of the feet or lower legs. In rare cases, people may experience black stools, blistering of the skin, headaches, fever, stomach pain, ulcers, and weakness, according to MayoClinic.com.
Plavix thins the blood, making it easier for patients to bleed, according to Drugs.com. If a patient cuts themselves while on Plavix, she may not be able to make the bleeding stop. Bleeding from taking Plavix may also occur internally, such as in the stomach or the intestines. Signs of internal bleeding include bloody stools, coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds; immediate medical attention is required.
Dental Work and Surgery
All medical doctors, dentists, nurses and pharmacists should be aware if their patients are taking Plavix, according to MayoClinic.com. Since Plavix greatly increases the risk of serious bleeding, medication needs to be stopped prior to any dental work or surgery. MayoClinic.com states that Plavix should not be taken approximately seven days prior to an operation or dental work. It is important for patients to contact their doctors and ask about the appropriate time span to stop and restart taking their Plavix medication.