Plavix Now Available as Generic Clopdigrel: Bring on the Savings!

Dr. Sharon Orrange
Dr. Orrange is an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine in the Division of Geriatric, Hospitalist and General Internal Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
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A staggering 2.5 million Plavix prescriptions are written in the U.S. every month. For those of you forking out the dough for Plavix, the FDA just approved generic versions of the blood-thinning drug, which will now be available to you much cheaper as clopidogrel.

Clopidogrel, the generic Plavix, is used to treat patients who have had a recent heart attack, but that’s not all. Here are a few ways clopidogrel helps us out:

– It is used to stop heart attacks.

– It is used to stop strokes.

– It is used after a heart treatment (angioplasty and stent placement) to protect the arteries.

– It is used to lower the number of heart attacks in people with unstable angina or mild heart attacks.

It does all that? Clopidogrel works because it stops platelets from getting sticky and clumpy.

What’s the downside of clopidogrel? You may bleed more easily on clopidogrel. You need to closely watch other medications and supplements you are taking while on clopidogrel. Ginkgo, vitamin E, garlic, aspirin, ibuprofen and alcohol may increase your risk of bleeding while taking clopidogrel.

Other pearls to know about:

Clopidogrel may not work as well in some people. There is a genetic test that can be done on a simple blood test to see if you are one of these people.

Prilosec (omeprazole) and Nexium (esomeprazole), reduce the effect of clopidogrel, leaving a person at greater risk for heart attack and stroke.

Several drug companies will make clopidogrel 300mg tablets: Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, Gate Pharmaceuticals, Mylan Pharmaceuticals, and Teva Pharmaceuticals. Apotex Corporation, Aurobindo Pharma, Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Roxane Laboratories, Sun Pharma, Teva Pharmaceuticals, and Torrent Pharmaceuticals will make clopidogrel 75 mg tablets.

Remember, generic drugs approved by FDA are of the same quality and strength as brand-name drugs. The generic manufacturing and packaging sites must pass the same quality standards as those for brand-name drugs.

Dr. O.

Clopidogrel is covered as a Tier 1 medication by most insurance plans, meaning you’ll pay only your lowest co-pay. The 75 mg tablets can also be found for as little as $35 per month. Plavix, in comparison, will now most likely fall under Tier 2 insurance coverage, meaning a moderate co-pay – and one month of 75 mg tablets runs close to $200.

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