Dangers of stopping clopidogrel (Plavix®) for patients with stents and certain other conditions

A public health alert from the American College of Cardiology

Recent media reports regarding the results of the CHARISMA Trial may be misinterpreted by patients with coronary stents and other conditions*, causing these patients to inappropriately stop taking the anti-clotting drug clopidogrel (Plavix®). Patients taking Plavix® for any reason should consult with their cardiologist or other health care provider before stopping this medication.

The CHARISMA Trial was presented at the Annual Scientific Sessions of the American College of Cardiology on Sunday, March 12 in Atlanta and simultaneously published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Although the CHARISMA trial showed no benefit to combining Plavix® and aspirin and for certain patients, this study does not invalidate use of the drug for approved indications, such as stenting. Certain other patients are given Plavix® after hospitalization for heart attack or stroke. Patients with these conditions must discuss the benefits and risks of anti-clotting medication with their health care provider and should not stop Plavix® on their own. Discontinuation of Plavix® in patients with recently-placed stents can cause clot formation within the stent, resulting in serious harm or death.

* According to the 2006 ACC/AHA/SCAI Guideline Update for Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI), Class I recommendations indicate the use of aspirin and clopidigrel in patients undergoing angioplasty with stent implantation (contraindications include aspirin resistance, allergy or risk of bleeding).

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About the American College of Cardiology
The American College of Cardiology, a 33,000-member nonprofit professional medical society and teaching institution, is dedicated to fostering optimal cardiovascular care and disease prevention through professional education, promotion of research, leadership in the development of standards and guidelines, and the formulation of health care policy.


Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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