Clopidogrel must be changed to an active form in your body so that it can treat your condition. Some people do not change clopidogrel to its active form in the body as well as other people. Because the medication does not work as well in these people, they may be at a higher risk of having a heart attack or stroke. There are tests available to identify people who have trouble changing clopidogrel to an active form. Talk to your doctor about whether you should be tested. If you are found to have difficulty converting clopidogrel to its active form, your doctor may change your dose of clopidogrel or tell you not to take clopidogrel.
Your doctor or pharmacist will give you the manufacturer's patient information sheet (Medication Guide) when you begin treatment with clopidogrel and each time you refill your prescription. Read the information carefully and ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. You can also visit the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website ( Web Site) or the manufacturer's website to obtain the Medication Guide.
Talk to your doctor about the risks of taking clopidogrel.
Clopidogrel is used alone or with aspirin to prevent serious or life-threatening problems with the heart and blood vessels in people who have had a stroke, heart attack, or severe chest pain. This includes people who have percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI; angioplasty; a type of heart surgery) that may involve inserting coronary stents (metal tubes surgically placed in clogged blood vessels to improve blood flow) or who have coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG; a type of heart surgery). Clopidogrel is also used to prevent serious or life-threatening problems with the heart and blood vessels in people who have peripheral arterial disease (poor circulation in the blood vessels that supply blood to the legs). Clopidogrel is in a class of medications called antiplatelet medications. It works by preventing platelets (a type of blood cell) from collecting and forming clots that may cause a heart attack or stroke.
Clopidogrel comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken once a day with or without food. Take clopidogrel at around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take clopidogrel exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Clopidogrel will help prevent serious problems with your heart and blood vessels only as long as you take the medication. Continue to take clopidogrel even if you feel well. Do not stop taking clopidogrel without talking to your doctor. If you stop taking clopidogrel, there is a higher risk that you may have a heart attack or stroke. If you have a stent, there is also a higher risk that you could develop a blood clot in the stent if you stop taking clopidogrel too soon.
Clopidogrel is also sometimes used to prevent blood clots in people with atrial fibrillation (a condition in which the heart beats irregularly). Talk to your doctor about the possible risks of using this medication for your condition.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Before taking clopidogrel,
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
Clopidogrel may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
Clopidogrel may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online ( Web Site ) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website ( Web Site) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. Web Site
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at Web Site. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can't be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.
Symptoms of overdose may include the following:
Keep all appointments with your doctor.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.
Selected Revisions: December 15, 2016.