Plavix is a platelet aggregation inhibitor, or anticoagulant that is usually prescribed to prevent blood from clotting to reduce the risk of a heart attack, stroke, or other blood vessel disorders. Many people refer to these drugs as blood thinners, but they do not change the consistency of your blood; they stop your platelets from sticking to one another and prevent the clotting proteins from binding together to form a clot. You will need a prescription from your doctor to purchase Plavix or the generic alternative Clopidogrel which is taken orally. The generic alternative is not manufactured by the company that makes the brand product.
Blood clots are helpful when they form to help stop bleeding due to an injury. However, if they form in your arteries or heart, your blood flow is impeded and the risk of a heart attack or stroke is greatly increased. Your doctor may also recommend a prescription for Plavix or generic Clopidogrel if you have been diagnosed with peripheral artery disease, or PAD. This is a disorder that affects the arteries in your arms and legs and the chances of developing PAD increases with age. Pain, weakness, and muscle cramps can be symptoms that the arteries to your extremities are blocked by fatty material, known as plaque that builds up inside the walls of your arteries. To reduce your chances of this disorder, you can stop smoking, eat healthier, be more active, and maintain a proper weight.
Ask your doctor about any risks with taking Plavix if you are pregnant, may become pregnant, or are breast feeding. Advise your doctor of any medical conditions you have and list any current OTC or Rx medications you take, including herbal remedies and dietary or vitamin supplements to determine if Plavix is safe for you.
Because your clotting process is affected, take extra care when taking part in activities that could result in injury, such as certain sports. If you are due to have surgery or dental work, make certain you inform the doctor or surgeon in advance of your appointment as you may be instructed to stop taking Plavix temporarily for a short time before or after your procedure so you are less likely to have any uncontrolled bleeding.