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Plavix vs. Heparin

Medical and Pharmacy Editor:

Are Heparin and Plavix the Same Thing?

Plavix (clopidogrel bisulfate) and Heparin are anticoagulants (blood thinners) that inhibit aspects of blood clotting and are used to treat patients with acute coronary syndrome, heart attack (myocardial infarction), peripheral vascular disease, and ischemic strokes.

What Are Possible Side Effects of Plavix?

Common side effects of Plavix include:

  • easy bleeding and bruising;
  • pain, redness, warmth, irritation, or skin changes where the medicine was injected;
  • itching of your feet; or
  • bluish-colored skin.

Thrombocytopenia, heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) and heparin-induced thrombocytopenia and thrombosis (HITT) are serious side effects of heparin.

What Are Possible Side Effects of Heparin?

Common side effects of Heparin include:

  • an increased tendency for bleeding,
  • headache,
  • dizziness,
  • back pain,
  • minor chest pain,
  • tired feeling,
  • fatigue,
  • nausea,
  • cough,
  • high or low blood pressure (hypertension or hypotension),
  • shortness of breath,
  • slow heart rate,
  • rash,
  • fever,
  • swelling or pain in the extremities, and
  • diarrhea.

What is Plavix?

Plavix (clopidogrel bisulfate) is a thienopyridine class of drug that inhibits platelet aggregation and thus inhibits aspects of blood clotting used to treat patients with acute coronary syndrome, myocardial infarction (MI), peripheral vascular disease and some stroke (ischemic type) patients. Plavix is available in generic form.

What is Heparin?

Heparin heparin sodium injectable) is a heterogeneous group of straight-chain anionic mucopolysaccharides, called glycosaminoglycans that have anticoagulant properties used to help prevent clot formation (for example, venous thrombosis, pulmonary embolisms, coagulopathies and coronary artery clots).

What Drugs Interact With Plavix?

Plavix may interact with other blood thinners, aspirin, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Plavix may also interact with armodafinil, modafinil, fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, gemfibrozil, isoniazid, cancer medications, stomach acid reducers, antifungals, HIV medications, or seizure medications.

What Drugs Interact With Heparin?

Heparin may interact with other blood thinners, aspirin, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Heparin may also interact with digoxin, dipyridamole, hydroxychloroquine, nicotine (cigarettes, gum, lozenges, or skin patches), nitroglycerin, antibiotics, cold or allergy, or medications, or sleep medications.

How Should Plavix Be Taken?

Plavix is supplied as 75 and 300 mg tablets. For acute coronary syndrome with a non-ST elevation MI, the initial recommended dose is 300 mg, followed by a 75 mg dose per day; for ST elevation MIs, the initial and continuing dose is 75 mg per day. The recommended dose is 75 mg per day for patient with a history of MI, stroke, or peripheral vascular disease. Many doctors may choose to add an aspirin per day along with the Plavix dose in both non-ST elevation and ST elevation MIs as well as to stroke and peripheral vascular disease patients.

How Should Heparin Be Taken?

Heparin is available in vials at strengths of 1000, 5000, 10,000 and 20,000 units per ml. Dosage depends on the coagulation problem; many initial doses start with 5000 units IV, but this can change depending on the problem; guidelines for dosages are available. If benzyl alcohol is listed as a preservative for the Heparin preparation, do not use in neonates and infants or nursing mothers. If preparations without benzyl alcohol are used in pediatric patients, the initial dose is usually 50 units per Kg but a pediatric specialist should be consulted.

Reviewed on 5/11/2018

References:
Plavix Product Information.
http://www.plavix.com/
FDA. Heparin Product Information.
http://labeling.pfizer.com/showlabeling.aspx?id=665

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