Plavix (Clopidogrel Bisulfate) and/or alternatives
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General Information on Plavix
Patients take Plavix to prevent strokes and heart attacks, to treat acute syndrome of the heart, prevent peripheral artery thromboembolism, prevent acute ST elevation myocardial infarction and myocardial reinfraction, and to treat unpredictable and severe constricting chest pain.
This drug is an anti-platelet drug and is similar in structure and function to ticlopidine. However, unlike ticlopidine, this drug does not lead to a severe reduction in white blood cells. Due to this, patients who buy Plavix do not have to undergo blood tests to determine if the white blood cell count is too low.
Side Effects of Plavix
Common and less severe side effects of clopidogrel bisulfate include pain in head and joints. In case these symptoms are causing great discomfort, then it is in your best interest to immediately consult your doctor. Your doctor will decide if you should continue the medicine or not.
In some patients, this drug may cause the following symptoms: rashes, itching, hemorrhage, weakness, and bleeding in the nose or abdomen. If you experience hemorrhage or bleeding in the nose or abdomen while taking this drug, then you should immediately contact your doctor. In rare cases, other side effects include: retinal hemorrhage, eye hemorrhage, pancreatitis, vasculitis, interstitial pneumonitis, stomach ulcers, hepatitis, kidney disease, abnormally low blood pressure, blood in the urine, bronchospasms, hemorrhage within the skull, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, ulcer of the duodenum, thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, erythema multiforme, giant hives, granulocytes deficiency, toxic epidermal necrolysis, decreased blood platelets, and hallucination.
You must immediately contact your doctor if you notice any of the above symptoms. In the rarest cases, this drug may cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include: breathing problem, skin rashes, severe dizziness, or itching/swelling in the throat/tongue/face. Immediately contact your doctor if you notice symptoms of an allergic reaction.
Clopidogrel bisulfate is not recommended for adults above 60 years and children under 12 years. Pregnant women and nursing mothers should consult their doctor before using this drug. If you are allergic to clopidogrel then you should not use this drug. Also, individuals who have any active bleeding in their stomach or brain should avoid this medication.
This drug may cause you to bleed easily, so avoid sharp objects and activities that may increase your chance of sustaining an injury. While on this medication, you should avoid alcohol, which increases your risk of bleeding in the stomach. Also, you should not stop this medication without consulting your doctor.
Your doctor will advise you, depending on your treatment, on what dosage of this medicine you should take. Generally, the dosage is Plavix 75mg once daily. Patients can take this medicine with or without food.
This drug is known to interact with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Sulindac, Mefenamic acid, Piroxicam, Tolmetin, Ibuprofen, Etodolac, Flurbiprofen, Nabumetone, Naproxen, Diclofenac, Fenoprofen, Indomethacin, and Oxaprozin. Before you buy Plavix online, ensure that you inform your doctor about all the medications that you are currently taking. This includes all prescription-based, nonprescription-based, and herbal-based medications. Also, apprise your doctor of your medical history so they can ensure that Plavix is right for you.
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What is a "Generic" medication/drug?
Generic drugs are medications that have comparable medicinal ingredients as the original brand name drug, but which are generally cheaper in price. Nearly 1 in 3 drugs dispensed are "generic". They undergo testing to ensure that they are similar to their "brand" counterparts in:
- Active Ingredient (e.g. "Pravastatin" is the active ingredient in brand name Pravachol)
- Dosage (e.g. 10 mg of the active ingredient)
- Safety (e.g. same or similar side effects, drug interactions)
- Performance (e.g. 10 mg of a "generic" can be substituted for 10 mg of the "brand" and have the same therapeutic result)
- Intended use (e.g. both "generic" and "brand" would be prescribed for the same conditions)
What this means is that "generic" medications can be used as a substitute of their brand equivalents with the comparable therapeutic results. There are a few exceptions (examples are outlined at the end of this page) and as always you should consult your physician before switching from a brand name medications to a generic or vice versa.
What differences are there between generic and brand?
While generics and brand equivalent drugs contain the same active ingredients, they may be different in the following ways:
- Appearance (e.g. the scoring or markings)
The color, shape and size of the medication come from the fillers that are added to the active ingredients to make the drug. These fillers that are added to the drug have no medical use and do not to change the effectiveness of the final product. A generic drug must contain comparable active ingredients and must have a comparable strength and dosage as the original brand name equivalent. Generic drugs can be more cost effective than purchasing the brand name.
Why do generics cost less than the brand name equivalents?
When a new drug is "invented", the company that discovered it has a patent on it that gives them the exclusive production rights for this medication. Once the patent expires in a country, other companies can bring the product to market under their own name. This patent prevents other companies from copying the drug during that time so they can earn back their Research and Development costs through being the exclusive supplier of the product. After the patent expires however, other companies can develop a "generic" version of the product. These versions generally are offered at much lower prices because the companies do not have the same development costs as the original company who developed the medication.
The main thing to realize here though is that the two products are therapeutically equivalent. They may look different, and be called something different.
How are Generic drugs tested to ensure quality and efficacy?
Generally speaking, the two most generally accepted methods to prove the safety of a generic version of a drug are to either repeat most of the chemistry, animal and human studies originally done, or to show that the drug performs comparably with the original brand name drug. This second option is called a "comparative bioavailability" study. During this type of study, volunteers are given the original drug, and then separately later the generic drug. The rates at which the drug is delivered to the patient (into their blood stream or otherwise absorbed) are measured to ensure they are the same. Because the same active ingredient is used the major concern is just that it delivers the common chemical(s) at the same rate so that they have the same effect. Please note that the methods that the manufacturers use may vary from country to country.