Clopidogrel: Classification, Uses & Dosage

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

While aspirin might be the most famous blood thinner, clopidogrel is pretty famous too. You may know it better as Plavix. Find out what this medication is and what it's used for.

Clopidogrel

What do heart attacks, stroke and some forms of surgery all have in common? Thrombi, or blood clots in the cardiovascular (heart and blood vessel) system. Heart attacks and strokes can be caused by blood clots and some types of surgery can increase the risk of blood clots developing in your body.

This is why doctors give medications very generally known as blood thinners to help save the lives of many people. One such blood thinner is known as clopidogrel. Let's see how it's classified, what it's used for, and some examples dosages of it.

Classification & Uses

Doctors use antithrombotic medication to help prevent or destroy blood clots. One general kind of antithrombotic drug is known as an antiplatelet drug because it helps prevent platelets from sticking to one another. Platelets are cell-like structures in your blood that help form a blood clot.

Clopidogrel, the generic name for Plavix, is one such antiplatelet medication. Since it prevents platelets from sticking to one another, it therefore prevents blood clots from forming as well as before. This means a person's chances of having a heart attack or stroke as a result of a blood clot are diminished. And so it stands to reason that a person who recently had or is at risk for having a heart attack or stroke might be treated with clopidogrel.

These risk factors include some forms of surgery and problems such as coronary artery disease. The coronary arteries are the blood vessels that supply your heart with oxygen. Coronary artery disease involves the buildup of waxy/fatty plaques inside these arteries, which can predispose to a heart attack.

Dosage

It is extremely important to note that dosage information for clopidogrel should not be taken lightly. If not enough of the medication is given, then some believe it's pretty much useless and a person remains at as great a risk for heart attack or stroke as if the clopidogrel was never given at all.

However, an overdose could lead to life-threatening bleeding. Other factors that must be taken into consideration include other medical conditions, medications, supplements and a person's diet that might influence the effectiveness of clopidogrel.

That being said, here are some example dosages for informational purposes only:

  • A recent heart attack or stroke victim might be given 75 mg, by mouth, once a day as the initial dose.
  • A person with coronary artery disease might be given 75 mg, by mouth, once a day.
  • A sudden drop of blood flow to the heart, often signified by extreme chest pain, an initial dose of 300 mg might be administered

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