Michael Werner, an attorney at the national personal injury law firm of Parker Waichman LLP, explains the risks associated with Plavix in the video above. Plavix, known generically as clopidogrel, is a blood thinner used to reduce the risk of heart attacks in high risk patients. The drug was originally approved in 1999 and manufactured by Sanofi-Aventis and Bristol-Myers Squibb. In May, the patent on Plavix expired and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved generic versions of the drug, despite serious concerns over the blood thinner’s bleeding risks. Patients should be aware that generic Plavix carries the same risks as the brand name, and is associated with side effects such as stomach bleeds and bleeding the brain.
Plavix is associated with an increased risk of cerebral hemorrhaging, gastrointestinal hemorrhaging, and other bleeding events. Although the manufacturer has touted Plavix as a superior version of Aspirin, a number of research studies suggest that this is not true. In August, for instance, the New England Journal of Medicine found that a combination of Aspirin with Plavix was not more effective than Aspirin alone in preventing a second stroke. The journal had previously published a study showing that the dual therapy was not more effective at reducing the risk of atherosclerotic events compared to Aspirin by itself. Research has also disproved the notion that Plavix is more tolerable for patients with a sensitive stomach or gastrointestinal system; in 2005 NEJM found that patients taking Plavix had a higher rate of ulcers compared to those who took Aspirin with a heartburn pill.