Your Care Explained > Medications : Clopidogrel

Clopidogrel is used to prevent heart attacks or strokes in patients with heart disease by preventing blood clots from forming. It is also taken to prevent clots forming on stents and artificial heart valves.

How Clopidogrel Works

Clopidogrel prevents ADP—a chemical that causes platelets to clump together—from binding to its receptors on platelets to start the clotting process.

It helps prevent heart attack and stroke by reducing the risk of clots forming in the blood and lodging in the arteries of the heart or brain. It is a newer generation of anticoagulant medication that has a lower risk of hemorrhage than an earlier drug, ticlopidine.

Taking Clopidogrel

After an initial 600 mg dose, a 75 mg tablet is taken daily, at any time of day. It may cause gastrointestinal symptoms, including abdominal pain and nausea.

Special Considerations

Recent studies have indicated that taking a proton pump inhibitor like Prilosec® or Nexium® may reduce the effectiveness of clopidogrel. If you’re taking clopidogrel and a medication to relieve gastrointestinal symptoms, you might want to talk to your doctor about other alternatives to proton pump inhibitors.

If you have a stent or artificial heart valve and are taking clopidogrel to prevent clotting, it’s important to consult with your doctor before discontinuing the drug for any reason.

Date Last Modified: January 21, 2011

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