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Clopidogrel: The First-line Treatment in Stroke Prevention

Each year, more than 700 thousand people in the US suffer a stroke. Over 20% of all people who have a stroke die, which makes it one of the common causes of death in the US. Heart attack is another leading cause of death around the world. Heart attacks and strokes are caused by blockages in blood flow to the organs.

Both these conditions are much easier to be prevented than cured. Preventive therapy is of great importance for those who have survived a stroke or heart attack, because these conditions are likely to reoccur. People who are at high risk of having a stroke are also recommended to take preventive measures.

When it comes to preventing a stroke or heart attack, Clopidogrel is usually the drug of choice.

What is Clopidogrel?

Clopidogrel is an antiplatelet that is used for:

  • Prevention of further heart attacks in patients who have survived one.
  • Prevention of further strokes in people who have suffered one (due to blood clot). However, the medication is not helpful in people who have had a hemorrhagic stroke.
  • Preventing a heart attack and/or stroke in people with peripheral arterial disease, chest pain caused by unstable angina, and other risk factors. In people suffering from peripheral artery disease, Clopidogrel also helps relieve pain.
  • Prevention of other circulation problems in people with atherosclerosis.
If you have once survived a stroke or/and a heart attack, the chances are high that your doctor will recommend that you use Clopidogrel. This medication will help you avoid further episodes of these conditions.

Clopidogrel also has off-label a use, among which is the prevention of the formation of thrombus after certain procedures.

How does Clopidogrel Work?

Active component clopidogrel, which is known as a blood-thinning medication. It stops blood cells from forming potentially harmful blood clots. Because of this effect, Clopidogrel also improves the blood circulation.

Blood clots that form inside the blood vessels are known as a thrombosis, which is a dangerous condition causing a blockage in the blood supply to the brain, heart, or other organ. A blockage in the vessels supplying blood to the brain or heart is the primary cause of strokes and heart attacks.

How Should I Use Clopidogrel?

The usual Clopidogrel dosage for prevention of heart attack or stroke is Clopidogrel 75 mg taken once daily. Patients who have acute coronary syndromes are usually prescribed an initial 300 mg dose. After this dose, treatment continues with standard 75 mg once daily.

Among the things that can affect your dose of Clopidogrel are your body weight, medical condition, and other drugs you are taking. Remember that your doctor may recommend you a dosage of Clopidogrel different from the standard 75 mg.

Here are some more instructions for patients taking Clopidogrel:

  • It is important to swallow Clopidogrel pills whole, without chewing or crushing.
  • Take Clopidogrel pills at the same time to maintain an even level of clopidogrel in the blood.
  • Clopidogrel can be taken regardless of meals.
  • For Clopidogrel to be effective, you have to use it as prescribed.
  • Do not discontinue Clopidogrel without consulting your doctor.
What Form does Clopidogrel Come in?

Clopidogrel drug comes in a form of tablets. It is available in two strengths: Clopidogrel 75 mg and Clopidogrel 300 mg, containing 75 mg and 300 mg of the active component clopidogrel, respectively.