1. About clopidogrel
Clopidogrel is an antiplatelet medicine. It prevents platelets (a type of blood cell) from sticking together and forming a dangerous blood clot.
Taking clopidogrel helps prevent blood clots if you have an increased risk of having them.
Your risk is higher if you have or have had:
- a heart attack
- unstable angina
- a stroke or "mini-stroke" (transient ischaemic attack or TIA)
- peripheral arterial disease
- an operation on your heart or blood vessels, such as a coronary stent insertion
Clopidogrel comes as tablets and is only available on prescription.
2. Key facts
- The usual dose for clopidogrel is 75mg once a day.
- Your doctor may prescribe clopidogrel with or instead of low-dose aspirin.
- The main side effect of clopidogrel is bleeding more easily than normal. You may have nosebleeds, heavier periods, bleeding gums or bruising.
- You can drink alcohol with clopidogrel. But do not drink too much while taking this medicine. It can irritate your stomach.
- You may need to stop taking clopidogrel for a short time before having surgery or dental treatment, but check with your doctor or dentist first.
3. Who can and cannot take clopidogrel
Clopidogrel can be taken by adults aged 18 and over.
Clopidogrel is not suitable for some people. To make sure this medicine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you:
- have ever had an allergic reaction to clopidogrel or any other medicine
- have a stomach ulcer or have had stomach ulcers in the past
- have had bleeding in your brain (a brain haemorrhage)
- have a bleeding disorder, such as haemophilia
- have liver or kidney problems
- are trying to get pregnant, already pregnant or breastfeeding
4. How and when to take clopidogrel
You'll usually take clopidogrel once a day, at the same time each day.
You can take clopidogrel with or without food.
The usual dose is 75mg a day. Occasionally you may be prescribed a one-off higher dose, such as 300mg or 600mg.
What if I forget to take it?
If you forget to take clopidogrel, take it as soon as you remember.
If you do not remember until the following day, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the usual time.
Do not take a double dose to make up for a forgotten dose.
If you often forget doses, it may help to set an alarm to remind you. You could also ask your pharmacist for advice on other ways to help you remember to take your medicine.
What if I take too much?
Taking 1 or 2 extra tablets is unlikely to harm you.
But the amount of clopidogrel that can lead to overdose is different from person to person.
Contact your doctor if you have taken some extra tablets and notice any signs of bleeding.