Plavix (clopidogrel) is a brand-name prescription medication. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved it to help prevent heart attacks and strokes in people with:
- acute coronary syndrome, which includes unstable angina and certain types of heart attacks called non-ST-elevation myocardial infarction or ST-elevation myocardial infarction
- recent heart attack, stroke or peripheral artery disease
Plavix comes as an oral tablet. It belongs to a group of drugs called platelet inhibitors. And it’s available in a generic form called clopidogrel.
Your doctor will recommend that you take Plavix along with aspirin to treat your condition.
The following chart summarizes Plavix’s dosage. Your doctor will determine the dosage that’s best for you.
|Plavix form||Strengths||Typical dosage|
|oral tablet||• 75 milligrams (mg)|
• 300 mg
|• For acute coronary syndrome: 300 mg once for the first dose, then 75 mg once per day|
• For recent heart attack, stroke, or peripheral artery disease: 75 mg once per day
For information about the dosage of Plavix, including its strengths and how to take the drug, keep reading. For a comprehensive look at Plavix, see this article.
Before you start taking Plavix, talk with your doctor about the best dosage for you.
Plavix comes as an oral tablet.
Plavix comes in two strengths: 75 milligrams (mg) and 300 mg.
The following information describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. However, be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to fit your needs.
Dosage for acute coronary syndrome
The recommended starting dose of Plavix for acute coronary syndrome is 300 mg. This is the maximum dosage that’s recommended. After your first dose of 300 mg, you’ll only need to take a daily dose of 75 mg of Plavix once per day. This is the lowest dose of Plavix that’s available.
You will take a higher dose of Plavix when starting treatment to help the medication start working as quickly as possible. This may also be called a “loading dose.”
In some cases, your doctor may recommend taking Plavix short term after stent placement. (A stent is a piece of mesh that is placed into an artery to keep it open. Stents may be placed in surgeries needed to open blood flow to your heart, called angioplasty.) However, this would be considered off-label use. Off-label use is when a drug that’s approved to treat one condition is prescribed to treat a different condition.
Your doctor can help determine if Plavix may be a safe treatment option for you after a stent placement. Since this would be an off-label use, there isn’t a recommended dosage. However, your doctor can determine what the best dosage may be for you.
Dosage for peripheral artery disease, recent stroke, or recent heart attack
The recommended dosage of Plavix for peripheral artery disease, recent stroke, or heart attack is 75 mg once per day. In this case, you will not need a loading dose of the drug.
Plavix is meant to be a long-term treatment. If you and your doctor determine that Plavix is safe and effective for you, you’ll likely take it long term.
Here are some frequently asked questions about Plavix.
Is Plavix prescribed with a loading dose?
It depends. People taking Plavix to treat acute coronary syndrome will get a loading dose of medication. A loading dose is a higher dose of the drug at the start of treatment. The purpose of a loading dose is to help the medication start to work as quickly as possible. People with acute coronary syndrome will take their first dose of 300 milligrams (mg), then continue with a daily dose of 75 mg.
However, people taking Plavix for peripheral artery disease, recent heart attack, or stroke will not need to take a loading dose of Plavix. In this case, your doctor will likely recommend a dose of 75 mg once per day.
Talk with your doctor about the best dosage and treatment plan for you.
Is there a certain recommended Plavix dosage for older adults?
The recommended Plavix dosage for older adults or elderly people (people ages 65 years or older) is the same as the dosage for younger adults.
In clinical trials of Plavix, at least half of the people taking the drug were ages 65 years or older. The trials showed that a dosage adjustment wasn’t needed in older adults.
If you have questions about the dosage for older adults, talk with your doctor.
Is there a Plavix dosage that’s considered ‘normal’?
The typical recommended dosage of Plavix is 75 mg once per day. However, in some cases, it may be recommended to take a loading dose of Plavix at the beginning of your treatment.
For more information about the specific dosing of Plavix for your condition, see the “Typical dosages” section above, or talk with your doctor.
Can doctors prescribe Plavix for atrial fibrillation? If so, what dosage is used for this condition?
Plavix is not currently approved for atrial fibrillation. This is a condition that causes irregular heart rhythms to occur, which can increase your risk for blood clots, heart attack, or stroke.
Instead, Plavix is only approved to treat acute coronary syndrome and people with peripheral artery disease, recent heart attack, or stroke. In these cases, the drug works to prevent blood clots, which can cause heart attack or stroke.
However, it’s possible that your doctor may also recommend taking Plavix off-label to prevent heart attack or stroke in people with atrial fibrillation. Off-label use is when a drug that’s approved to treat one condition is prescribed to treat a different condition.
In fact, one study showed that people with either acute coronary syndrome or a recent heart procedure called percutaneous coronary intervention, and who also have atrial fibrillation, may be able to take Plavix for their condition. In this study, Plavix was used together with apixaban (Eliquis). The risk of blood clots was about the same as when using other treatments for this condition. In addition, the risk of bleeding and hospitalizations was decreased.
It’s possible that your doctor may recommend Plavix off-label for atrial fibrillation. However, since this would be an off-label use, there isn’t a recommended dosage. If you’re interested in taking Plavix for this condition, talk with your doctor. They can help determine if Plavix may be right for you.
If you miss your dose of Plavix, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it’s almost time for your next dose, skip your missed dose and take your next dose on your usual schedule. Do not take a double dose of Plavix to make up for a missed dose.
To help make sure that you don’t miss a dose, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or using a timer. You could also download a reminder app on your phone.
The Plavix dosage your doctor prescribes will depend on several factors. This may include the condition you’re using Plavix to treat and other medical conditions that you have.
You should take your dose of Plavix once per day by mouth. You can take your dose with or without food.
If you have trouble swallowing tablets, see this article for tips on how to take this form of medication. You can also talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
It may be helpful to take Plavix around the same time each day. This helps maintain a steady level of the drug in your body so Plavix can work effectively.
ACCESSIBLE DRUG LABELS AND CONTAINERS
If you’re having trouble reading your prescription label, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. Some pharmacies offer labels with large print, braille, or a code you scan with a smartphone to convert text to speech. If your local pharmacy doesn’t have these options, your doctor or pharmacist might be able to recommend a pharmacy that does.
If you’re having trouble opening medication bottles, ask your pharmacist about putting Plavix in an easy-open container. They also may recommend tools that can make it easier to open bottles.
If you take more Plavix than your doctor prescribes, you may develop serious side effects.
It’s important that you do not take more Plavix than your doctor advises.
Symptoms of an overdose
Overdose symptoms of Plavix can increase your risk of bleeding, which may cause symptoms such as:
- bruising easier than usual
- bleeding gums
- vomiting or coughing blood
- blood in your stool or urine
If you take more than the recommended amount of Plavix
Call your doctor right away if you believe you’ve taken too much Plavix. Another option is to call the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 800-222-1222 or use its online tool. If you have severe symptoms, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number, or go to the nearest emergency room.
The dosages in this article are typical dosages provided by the drug’s manufacturer. If your doctor recommends Plavix for you, they’ll prescribe the dosage that’s right for you. Always follow the dosage that your doctor prescribes for you.
As with any drug, never change your dosage of Plavix without your doctor’s recommendation. If you have questions about the dosage of Plavix that’s best for you, talk with your doctor.
Besides learning about dosage, you may want other information about Plavix. These additional articles might be helpful:
- More about Plavix. For information about other aspects of Plavix, refer to this article.
- Drug comparison. Find out how Plavix compares with Brilinta or Effient.
- Details about your condition. For details about your condition, see our cardiovascular hub or this list of cardiovascular articles. These lists of heart disease or stroke articles may also be helpful.
Disclaimer: Medical News Today has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.