Clopidogrel is a potent oral antiplatelet agent often used in the treatment of coronary artery disease, peripheral vascular disease, and cerebrovascular disease. It is marketed by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi-Aventis under the trade name Plavix.
The mechanism of action of clopidogrel is irreversible blockade of the adenosine diphosphate (ADP) receptor on platelet cell membranes. This receptor is named P2Y12 and is important in platelet aggregation, the cross-linking of platelets by fibrin. The blockade of this receptor inhibits platelet aggregation.
Platelet inhibition can be demonstrated two hours after a single dose of oral clopidogrel.
Clopidogrel is indicated for (Rossi, 2006):
Prevention of vascular ischaemic events in patients with symptomatic atherosclerosis
Acute coronary syndrome without ST-segment elevation (NSTEMI), along with aspirin
It is also used, along with aspirin, for the prevention of thromboembolism after placement of intracoronary stent. (Rossi, 2006)
Most consensus-based therapeutic guidelines recommend the use of clopidogrel, over aspirin, in patients requiring antiplatelet therapy but with a history of gastric ulceration, due to the lower incidence of gastric ulceration associated with the use of clopidogrel vs aspirin. A recent study has shown that in patients with healed aspirin-induced ulcers, however, patients receiving aspirin plus the proton pump inhibitor esomeprazole had a lower incidence of recurrent ulcer bleeding than patients receiving clopidogrel. (Chan et al., 2005)
Clopidogrel is marketed as clopidogrel bisulfate (clopidogrel hydrogen sulfate), most commonly under the trade name Plavix, as 75 mg tablets.
Serious adverse drug reactions associated with clopidogrel therapy include:
Severe neutropenia (Incidence: 5/10,000)
Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) (Incidence: 4/1,000,000 patients treated)
Hemorrhage - The incidence of hemorrhage may be increased by the co-administration of aspirin.
Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage (Incidence: 2.0%)
Cerebral Hemorrhage (Incidence: 0.1 to 0.4%)
Other useful drug information: Colchicine | Darvocet | Accutane | Hydrochlorothiazide | Aspirin | Carbamazepine | Lunesta
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