17 August, 2011
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Plavix & Fish Oil
Doctors prescribe the drug Plavix to prevent blood clots and decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke. Fish oil is a common health supplement used to decrease high blood cholesterol and can also prevent blood clot formation. Therefore, taking these two medications together can lead to excessive bleeding that may be life-threatening. It is important to consult your doctor before taking fish oil and other supplements while on Plavix.
Plavix is a brand name for the anticoagulant medication clopidogrel bisulfate, prescribed for individuals who have had a recent stroke or heart attack or who are at risk of cardiovascular disease. Drugs.com notes that this drug prevents blood clots by inhibiting the platelets, clotting cells in your blood, from sticking or clumping together. Plavix improves blood flow through the arteries for better cardiovascular health.
Blood Clot Risk
Platelets are blood cells that are the main clotting factors in your body. When an injury occurs, these cells coagulate or stick together, forming a mesh-like clot that stops bleeding. However, blood clots can also form in the blood vessels due to damage, inflammation, hardening due to atherosclerosis, injury and the buildup of fat plaques. The clots and plaques can significantly narrow and harden the arteries, hindering blood flow. The clots can also break off and travel to other parts of the body causing a thrombus or blockage. Blood clots in the heart, lungs and brain can be fatal and require urgent treatment.
Fish oil is a natural remedy to decrease high cholesterol or triglyceride levels and reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease. MayoClinic.com warns that fish oil contains omega 3 fatty acids, linked to decreased platelet aggregation or clumping, a prolonged bleeding time and increased fibrinolysis or the breaking down of blood clots. Though higher doses of omega 3 fatty acids appear to have these effects, you should not take fish oil with Plavix and other anticoagulant or blood-thinning medications. Ingesting high doses of fish oil can increase your risk of a hemorrhagic or bleeding stroke, nosebleeds and other abnormal bleeding.
Plavix Side Effects
Plavix can also increase your risk for life-threatening bleeding. Drugs.com advises patients taking this medication to avoid activities that increase the chance of cuts and bruising to the body. Seek urgent medical attention if you notice that you are bleeding excessively from a normal cut or injury or have any signs of unusual bleeding. Other side effects you should report to your doctor include nosebleeds, blood in the urine or stools, black, tarry stools, an itchy skin rash and red or purple spots on the skin.
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