Plavix (clopidogrel) is an antiplatelet medication prescribed frequently to heart disease patients or patients who have received a coronary angioplasty/stent. This medication has been shown to help prevent future heart attacks by preventing the development of a blood clot.
PPIs (proton pump inhibitors) are used to prevent bleeding from the gastrointestinal track. Examples include: Prilosec, Nexium, Prevacid, Aciphex, and Protonix.
Many patients after a heart attack are prescribed both of these medications, the Plavix to prevent future heart attacks, and the PPIs to prevent bleeding in the stomach which is a potential side effect of Plavix.
A study published in the March issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that heart attack patients taking PPIs in combination with Plavix may actually be more likely to have a second heart attack than patients who do not take the PPIs with Plavix. Heart patients who took Plavix with a PPI had a 25% increased risk of dying or requiring hospitalization for a heart-related problem, compared to patients who took Plavix without a PPI. Over 8,000 patients were followed for longer than 3 years. One of the study researchers (Dr. David Juurlink) stated that Protonix did not demonstrate an increased risk when used with Plavix.
The important message here is discuss your medication regime with your cardiologist, do not discontinue any of your medications without first discussing it with your healthcare provider. But you need to be informed and ask questions!
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