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Major bleeding, flu-like symptoms, headache, dizziness, and pain are some common side effects of Plavix. Those that are less common include constipation, fatigue, and joint pain. Because Plavix may increase the risk of major life-threatening bleeding, it's important to watch for bleeding that takes longer than usual to stop or such things as bloody noses, blood in the stool, or vomiting blood.

Plavix Side Effects: An Introduction

As with any medicine, side effects can occur with Plavix® (clopidogrel bisulfate); however, not everyone who takes the drug will experience side effects. In fact, most people tolerate it well. If side effects do occur, in most cases, they are minor, meaning they require no treatment or are easily treated by you or your healthcare provider. In previous research studies, up to 13 percent of people stopped taking Plavix because of side effects.
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with Plavix. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list of Plavix side effects with you.)

Common Side Effects of Plavix

Plavix has been studied thoroughly in clinical trials, with more than 17,500 people having been evaluated. In these studies, side effects are always documented and compared to those that occur in a similar group of people not taking the medicine. This way, it is possible to see what side effects occur, how often they appear, and how they compare to the group not taking the medicine.
Based on these studies, the most common side effects of Plavix (occurring in more than 2 percent of people and more often in the group taking Plavix) include:
  • Major bleeding -- in up to 3.7 percent of people
  • Flu-like symptoms -- up to 7.5 percent
  • Headache -- up to 7.6 percent
  • Dizziness -- up to 6.2 percent
  • Pain -- up to 5.6 percent
  • Diarrhea -- up to 4.5 percent
  • Upset stomach or indigestion (dyspepsia) -- 5.2 percent
  • Bruising -- 5.3 percent
  • Bloody nose -- 2.9 percent
  • Unexplained rash -- 4.2 percent
  • Itchy skin -- 3.3 percent.
Because Plavix can increase the risk of major or life-threatening bleeding, contact your doctor immediately if you notice that it takes longer for bleeding to stop, you have any unusual bleeding, or you have any of the following symptoms:
  • Bloody nose
  • Black, tarry stools
  • Blood in the urine or stools
  • Vomiting blood
  • Red or purple spots on the skin
  • Itchy skin or rash.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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