Also known by its generic name clopidogrel, Plavix is a medication prescribed to prevent your blood from clotting. Your physician may prescribe this medication after you have experienced a heart attack or stroke to prevent the likelihood that another blood clot could form and threaten your life. It is important to be aware of common drug interactions when taking Plavix to prevent adverse reactions. Although some medications, such as cholesterol-lowering drugs, may interact with eating grapefruit, taking Plavix and eating grapefruit should not result in harmful effects.
Grapefruits and citrus fruits such as oranges contain compounds that can interfere with how your body breaks medications down. This fruit typically causes your medications to stay in your digestive system longer, which increases their potency. Because many medications have side effects, increasing a medication’s potency can increase those effects, which could have potentially deadly consequences. Some heart-related medications are known to have harmful interactions with grapefruit, including the anti-arrhythmia drug amiodarone and cholesterol-lowering statins such as simvastatin, iovastatin or atorvastatin. Anti-platelet drugs such as Plavix are not associated with adverse drug reactions, however.
Although grapefruit may not cause negative interactions with Plavix, it’s important that you take the medication properly to minimize side effects. For example, Plavix should be taken without food unless your physician directs otherwise. Also, Plavix should be taken at about the same time each day for best effectiveness. If you do accidentally miss a dose, you can either take the dosage when you remember it or proceed in taking your next dose. Do not, however, take an extra dosage to make up for your missed dose.
If Plavix is not the only medication you are currently taking, check with your physician to ensure that grapefruit juice does not affect your medications taken as a whole. For example, it is possible that your physician could prescribe Plavix and a cholesterol-lowering agent that interacts with grapefruit. Also, other citrus fruits such as pomelos and Seville oranges can have similar effects on the medications you take. For this reason, it is vital to disclose all medications -- including vitamins and supplements -- you may be taking.
A number of side effects are commonly associated with taking Plavix. If you experience side effects after taking Plavix such as hives, rash, difficulty breathing, weakness in the arm or leg or loss of vision, seek immediate medical treatment. Also, if you do eat a grapefruit or drink grapefruit while taking Plavix and experience an adverse reaction, you may have a food sensitivity to citrus fruits. Talk to your physician about your symptoms, and he may recommend testing, keeping a food diary or avoidance of certain citrus fruits.