New research has recently found that Plavix may cause stomach ulcers, internal bleeding, brain hemorrhages, and death. Combining Plavix with aspirin doubles your risk of serious internal gastrointestinal bleeding.
Plavix-Aspirin Study Halted
The most recent clinical study of Plavix was suddenly halted after researchers found alarming results: Plavix combined with Aspirin doubles a person’s risk of suffering a serious bleeding event, and people were significantly more likely to experience cardiovascular injury or death. If you take Plavix with aspirin, you should talk to your doctor about the findings of this research.
These were the results of the study:
- 6.5% of Plavix-aspirin users experienced a serious bleeding event. 5.8% of these users died.
- In comparison, only 3.3% of aspirin-only users experienced bleeding, and 4.1% died.
The study, funded by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and conducted by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), studied more than 3,000 people who were at risk of recurrent strokes. Specifically, the researchers hoped that combining two blood-thinning medications would further decrease a person’s risk of developing “subcortical” strokes, which are strokes caused by blood clots in the small blood vessels in the brain.
What they discovered was that the side-effects of this treatment greatly outweigh the benefits.
One of the most serious side effects of using Plavix is gastrointestinal bleeding. The first symptoms are usually blood in the stool or vomit, but it may not always be visible, and sometimes it can be very difficult to locate the source of the bleeding. Modern imaging technology (X-ray, echocardiogram, electrocardiogram, and MRIs) has greatly helped doctors diagnose gastrointestinal bleeding.
Gastrointestinal bleeding occurs in the stomach, upper intestine, lower intestine, or other parts of the abdomen. The severity of the symptoms depends on where the person is bleeding and how much blood has been lost. If you experience any of these symptoms while taking Plavix, seek emergency attention immediately.
Acute cases of gastrointestinal hemorrhage will include vomiting blood, bloody bowel movements, or black, tarry stools that may resemble “coffee grounds.” Symptoms associated with blood loss include:
- Shortness of breath
- Abdominal pain
- Pale appearance
Gastrointestinal Bleeding Treatment
There are several types of treatment:
- Endoscopic thermal probe: Burns the blood vessel, ulcer, or abnormal tissue.
- Endoscopic clips: These are clips that physically close a bleeding vessel or tissue.
- Endoscopic band ligation: Like a rubber band, usually used to tie off bleeding hemorrhoids.
- Endoscopic cryotherapy: Freezes bleeding vessels in the stomach
- Endoscopic intravariceal cyanoacrylate injection: Injects a medical glue, used to treat bleeding in the stomach that does not respond to other treatments.
- Angiographic embolization: An injection of particles directly into the blood vessel
In severe cases of gastrointestinal bleeding, a patient may need a blood transfusion.
What is the problem with Plavix?
Plavix is most often prescribed as a blood-thinner, to reduce a person’s likelihood of developing a blood clot that could lead to a heart attack, stroke, or death. It works by inhibiting an enzyme in the blood that makes blood-platelets stick together. The danger is that, sometimes, blood clots break loose and travel through the bloodstream (called an “embolism”). If an embolism travels to the heart, brain, lungs, or other major internal organ, it can cause death very suddenly.
Although Plavix was approved by the FDA in 2007 to prevent strokes and heart attacks, it is no more effective than aspirin. Unlike aspirin, it has serious side effects.
Many consumers have been injured by Plavix-induced side effects, and they are filing lawsuits against the drug-makers.
Plavix Research and Safety Warnings
- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) send the makers of Plavix a warning letter regarding the advertising campaign and TV commercials “because they make representations and/or suggestions about the efficacy of Plavix, but fail to communicate any risk information associated with the use of this drug.”
- The New England Journal of Medicine studied the claim that Plavix was “easier on a person’s stomach” than aspirin, and found exactly the opposite: Plavix-users are12 times more likely to have stomach ulcers, gastrointestinal bleeding, and cerebral bleeding.
- The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) wanted to know what happened when Plavix was combined with several popular medications (such as Prilosec, Nexium, Prevacid, or Aciphex, to name a few) and found that these combinations inactivated Plavix. Someone taking both these medications would have had little protection against blood clots.