PAD Patients Should Consider Aspirin Over Plavix, Research Suggests


PAD Patients Should Consider Aspirin Over Plavix, Research SuggestsOverview: People who suffer from peripheral artery disease (PAD) may benefit just as much from Aspirin as they would from Plavix, according to a study in the Journal of the American Heart Association. Although the two blood thinners have the same uses, they differ in terms of price, and perhaps risk.






  • Aspirin may be just as effective as Plavix in helping PAD patients
  • Aspirin and Plavix are both used to prevent blood clot, stroke and heart attack; Aspirin is significantly cheaper and has been on the market much longer
  • Plavix is associated with bleeding events such as gastrointestinal and cerebral hemorrhaging; these risks have led to a number of lawsuits

Product: Plavix (clopidogrel)  

Manufacturer: Sanofi-Aventis, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.

Side Effects & Complications 

  •       Cerebral hemorrhage
  •       Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (TTP)
  •       Gastrointestinal bleeding
  •       Ulcers
  •       Internal bleeding
  •       Bone marrow damage
  •       Heart attack
  •       Stroke
  •       Death

Study Shows Aspirin Just as Effective as Plavix

According to an AARP article, “People whose legs ache when they walk because of blocked leg arteries can get just as much relief — if not more — by taking a low-dose aspirin instead of Plavix and taking daily walks.”

The study, which was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association earlier this year, compared the effects of Aspirin versus Plavix in PAD patients. All participants were given a daily walking regimen. Overall, the group taking Aspirin improved their walking distance 40 percent compared to the 33 percent seen in the Plavix group.

PAD is a condition where the arteries of the legs become blocked and narrowed due to the buildup of plaque. Patients with PAD often experience intermittent claudication, which is leg pain that occurs while walking. Plavix and Aspirin can be used to alleviate this symptom, but recent research suggests that Aspirin may be preferable because it is affordable yet equally effective.

Is Plavix Worth It?

This isn’t the first time that Aspirin has been shown to be equal, or even superior to, Plavix. In 2005, the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) published a study showing that Plavix users had a significantly higher rate of recurrent ulcer bleeding compared to those who took Aspirin with a heartburn pill. These results contradict the assumption that Plavix is more tolerable for the stomach. The following year, NEJM published another study comparing the two drugs. This time, researchers found that combining Aspirin with Plavix was not more effective than taking Aspirin alone.

Plavix is associated with an increased risk of hemorrhaging due to its blood-thinning effects. This side effect has led to a number of lawsuits alleging that the company failed to properly warn users about the risk of severe bleeding. Parker Waichman LLP, a national personal injury firm, has filed a number of these lawsuits. One of the more recent suits was filed in July on behalf of a Tennessee woman who experienced three episodes of gastrointestinal bleeding as an alleged result of taking Plavix.