Patients at risk of suffering heart attack and stroke are treated with medications to reduce the possibility or prevent cardiovascular events. Among the various medications prescribed, Plavix is regarded as one of the most popular. Belonging to the category of platelet inhibitors, Plavix helps reduce the possibility of myocardial infarctions. It is also used for treating patients with peripheral arterial disease or ST elevated myocardial infarction. As with all medications, Plavix also has undesirable outcomes alongside the desired or expected outcomes. Here is an in-depth look at the side effects of Plavix and effective methods to mitigate the same.
Overview and side effects of Plavix
To understand the side effects of Plavix it is essential to learn more about the mechanism of action of the drug and its use cases. This will help prevent incorrect use and dosage. Acute coronary syndrome refers to the condition wherein patients have insufficient blood flow to the heart as a result of blockage. Consequently, patients suffer from chest pain, also known as angina and heart attack. Available as tablets in 75 mg and 300 mg formulations, Plavix is also part of combination therapy, given along with aspirin. The mechanism of action of the medication is primarily attributed to its platelet inhibition properties. It is regarded as effective and superior when compared with aspirin and is known to optimize the results when taken alongside aspirin.
Before we look at the side effects of Plavix it is necessary to understand that the medication has long duration of action with a large therapeutic window. Consequently, it is prescribed to be taken once daily. The active form of the medication is known to irreversibly bind to receptors on platelets. As a result of this binding action, the medication helps prevent platelet aggregation or clots formation. It is regarded as significantly effective in delivering the desired outcomes, helping prevent cardiovascular events.
Commonly reported side effects of Plavix
It is time to check out the side effects of Plavix. The compilation below is of the commonly reported side effects. This specifically means that there is a possibility of individuals experiencing these side effects, and does not categorically mean that all patients on the medication will experience these side effects. Depending on various factors, there is also the possibility of individuals experiencing other side effects that are not on this list.
Among the commonly reported side effects, there is the possibility of individuals experiencing nose bleeding and bleeding from cuts. In other words, individuals who experience cuts may more find that it takes longer for the bleeding to stop. This is mainly as a result of the impact on blood clotting. Additionally, there is also the possibility of individuals experiencing frequent or abnormal bruising. Patients are also likely to suffer from fever that may or may not be accompanied by pain in the muscles. A certain amount of confusion and outbreak of rashes on the skin cannot be ruled out as a result of taking the medication. These commonly reported side effects of Plavix are typically temporary in nature and may not require any additional treatment or intervention. However, when the condition persists or if the condition is intense in nature, it is advisable to seek medical intervention at the earliest. This is especially required when patients observe blood in urine or stool.
Side effects of Plavix that are relatively serious in nature
Apart from the commonly reported side effects of Plavix as mentioned above, there are relatively serious or adverse effects that may require medical attention. While these are rare in occurrence, the same cannot be ruled out and it is therefore necessary to be aware of the possibilities. For instance, patients are likely to experience bleeding that is persistent and abnormal in nature. The presence of blood in urine and stool needs to be monitored carefully, and patients need to be on the look for the following symptoms. Stool that appears tarry, or like coff grounds or with a reddish or blackish hue is indicative of possible bleeding. Similarly, patients who observe the presence of blood in vomit also need to be cautious. This can be discerned when the color of vomit is either pinkish or reddish in hue.
Other side effects of Plavix that are regarded as serious in nature include a condition known as TTP. Acronym for thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, this condition refers to the formation of blood clots in various parts of the body. For instance, individuals may also end up with blood clots in blood vessels that are relatively smaller. This condition can be discerned with certain visible symptoms or indications. For instance, patients are likely to observe a change in skin color, as the skin turns relatively pale in appearance. Additionally, individuals are likely to end up with purple spots on the inside of the mouth and on the skin. There is also the likelihood of the formation of red dots on the skin that appear similar to rashes. The overall appearance is more likely to be similar to that of patients with jaundice, where the color of the skin turns to either yellow or the whites of the eyes appear yellowish.
Patients with the above condition are more likely to feel tired and weak, with the possible onset of fever. Additionally, patients are also likely to experience faster heart beat and a shortness of breath. Apart from the side effects of Plavix mentioned above, patients may experience headache and confusion as a result of the condition. Impact on the kidneys is typically manifested through blood in the urine or the presence of abnormally high amounts of protein in urine samples. Patients who experience any of the above conditions that are either intense in nature or persisting, are advised to seek medical assistance at the earliest, to prevent the condition from aggravating to a serious or life-threatening level.
Various categories of side effects of Plavix that may be experienced by patients
Individuals are likely to experience any of the following side effects of Plavix. For instance, patients may experience allergic reactions, that could be mainly mild in nature, there are no reports of serious allergic reactions from patients on the medication. The possibly common allergies include the outbreak of rashes on the skin, and an itchy feeling. This may or may not be accompanied by a reddish color on the skin. Known medially as flushing, this refers to the condition where the patients experience an unusual feeling of warmth and redness on the skin. In certain cases, the allergic reactions may turn serious in nature, though this is extremely rare. The possible symptoms of such reactions include difficulty in breathing that is not attributed to other reasons. Abnormal swelling in the tongue, or the throat, or the mouth is another possibility that could be experienced by individuals. In addition to the above, patients are also likely to experience swelling under the skin, with the most common areas being the eyelids, limb extremities and the lips.
Other side effects of Plavix include the possibility of abnormal bruising which is not attributed to any other medical condition or trauma. Bruising is typically the result of injuries or abrasions. IN the case of Plavix, the reason for the abnormal bruising is the opening up of small blood vessels that are beneath the skin. These blood vessels erupt and result in bleeding. Bruising is not a causer for concern, as in most cases, healing occurs swiftly. However, the condition may warrant medical attention when it is persistent in nature or when it is intense. When the area of bruising or the extent of bruising is large, it is necessary to seek medical intervention as this may result in loss of blood.
Among the other side effects of Plavix, bleeding from the nose is relatively common. This is mainly as a result of the blood clot inhibition effects of the medication. Consequently, individuals who bruise themselves, slightly will find that due to the reduced blood clotting ability, bleeding from the nose is stronger. Additionally, there is also the possibility of the small blood vessels on the insides of the nose erupting, resulting in bleeding. Simple methods can be used to tackle nosebleeds, and this does not differ from the usual actions for treating nosebleeds. For instance, the head is required to be raised and the mouth open. The use of an ice pack, on the nose helps to reduce the amount of bleeding. A certain amount of pressure is to be applied on the nose to reduce the bleeding. This can be achieved by a squeezing action on the bridge of the nose.
Finally, individuals on the medication are likely to experience headaches as one of the side effects of Plavix. This is a relatively common side effect and is also experienced when individuals are on other medications. The best methods of dealing with the headache is the use of pain killers that do not aggravate the bleeding. Similarly, the presence of blood in the urine is another condition that could be indicative of internal bleeding or an impact on the kidneys. If the condition persists or if the intensity appears strong, it is necessary to seek medical intervention at the earliest. Patients are also likely to experience pruritus, as a result of the medication. In most cases, the itching is mild in nature and may not require any additional treatment, other than topical applications that do not aggravate bleeding. In a limited number of cases, individuals are likely to experience diarrhea as side effects of Plavix. This is relatively rare in occurrence and the treatment is mainly symptomatic in nature, for instance, increased intake of fluids and medication to stop the diarrhea.