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Mechanism Of Action Clopidogrel

Mechanism Of Action Clopidogrel

What is clopidogrel?

Bob had a heart attack recently and was seen by his primary care physician for a follow-up appointment. At the appointment, the doctor started Bob on a medication called clopidogrel. Bob has never heard of this medication and asked the doctor for more information. The doctor stated that clopidogrel is an antiplatelet medication and sometimes called a ''blood thinner''. He said it is used to prevent strokes, heart attacks, and other heart problems. The more common name for clopidogrel is Plavix.

Mechanism of action

Bob wanted more information about this medication and asked the doctor how it works. The doctor explained that clopidogrel works by preventing platelets, which is a type of blood cell, from forming clots. A blood clot which forms inside a blood vessel, can cut off blood supply to the heart or brain which would cause a heart attack or stroke. The medication may cause an individual to bleed or bruise easily. The doctor explained that it may take Bob longer than normal to stop bleeding if he received a cut while he is on this medication. He also will need to stop this medication a week before any kind of surgery as it may prolong bleeding.

What are the side effects of clopidogrel?

The tolerability of clopidogrel is similar to that of aspirin. The more common side effects of clopidogrel are:

  • diarrhea,
  • rash,
  • itching,
  • Abdominal pain
  • headache,
  • chest pain,
  • muscle aches,


Clopidogrel is used to prevent heart attacks and strokes in persons with heart disease (recent heart attack), recent stroke, or blood circulation disease (peripheral vascular disease).

It is also used with aspirin to treat new/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).


If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.

What else should I know about this drug?

Clopidogrel is avaialable as tablets: 75 and 300 mg. Tablets should be stored at room temperature, 15 C - 30 C (59 F - 86 F).

Clopidogrel is available as a generic drug. You need a prescription from your doctor to obtain this medicine.

Plavix is the brand name available for clopidogrel in the US

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