Plavix vs Effient

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For patients at risk of heart disease or stroke, certain drugs that inhibit platelet aggregation help avoid the formation of blood clots. Plavix and Effient are two such medications prescribed to prevent clotting complications. They each impact different pathways in the coagulation process but both have effects in reducing thrombotic cardiovascular events. Plavix, also known as clopidogrel, is an ADP receptor inhibitor which disrupts the action of platelet activation and aggregation by blocking P2Y12 receptors on their surface. On the other hand, Effient (prasugrel) is a more potent antiplatelet drug than Plavix that inhibits adenosine diphosphate-induced platelet aggregation more quickly and effectively but comes with an increased risk of bleeding.

What is Plavix?

Clopidogrel (the generic name for Plavix) was a significant advancement in the class of drugs known as antiplatelet agents. It was first approved by the FDA in 1997. Plavix works by preventing platelets from clumping together to form blood clots, effectively reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke. It is commonly prescribed for patients who have recently experienced a heart attack or stroke, or those diagnosed with peripheral artery disease.

Prasugrel (the generic name for Effient), on the other hand, belongs to the same class of medication but has shown stronger antiplatelet activity than its predecessor Clopidogrel. Approved by the FDA in 2009, Prasugrel is generally prescribed for patients undergoing angioplasty after experiencing severe chest pain or suffering from a heart attack. While both drugs serve similar purposes, they differ significantly when it comes to side effects; Prasugrel may cause more bleeding complications compared to Clopidogrel due to its stronger antiplatelet effect.

What conditions is Plavix approved to treat?

Plavix (clopidogrel) is approved for the treatment of various cardiovascular conditions:

  • Acute coronary syndrome, including unstable angina and non-ST segment elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI)
  • Recent myocardial infarction (MI), recent stroke or established peripheral arterial disease
  • Prevention of atherothrombotic events in patients suffering from acute coronary syndrome undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention

On the other hand, Effient (prasugrel) is primarily used to lower your risk of thrombotic cardiovascular events such as stenting due to acute coronary syndromes:

  • Prevention of thrombotic cardiovascular events in people with acute coronary syndrome who are being managed with PCI

How does Plavix help with these illnesses?

Plavix helps to prevent heart attacks and strokes by reducing the formation of blood clots. It does this by inhibiting platelet aggregation, which is a key step in the process of clot formation. Platelets are small cells in the blood that stick together when they encounter damaged tissue, such as a tear in a blood vessel wall from an injury or due to disease conditions like high cholesterol levels. Plavix works specifically by blocking P2Y12 ADP receptors on platelet surfaces, preventing these cells from sticking together and forming clots.

On the other hand, Effient also prevents the formation of harmful blood clots but it does so more powerfully than Plavix. This potency comes with increased risk of bleeding complications which could be potentially serious. Therefore, while both drugs work towards similar ends i.e., prevention of heart attacks and strokes through inhibition of clotting, choice between them often involves balancing their efficacy against potential risks based on individual patient's health condition.

What is Effient?

Effient, also known as prasugrel, is a type of platelet inhibitor that works by preventing blood clots. It achieves this by inhibiting the activation and aggregation of platelets in the blood which are critical for clot formation. Effient was first approved by the FDA in 2009.

Unlike clopidogrel (Plavix), Effient does not require metabolic activation, meaning it acts faster and has a more predictable response across different patients. Its distinct mode of action means that its side-effect profile is somewhat different from Plavix; while both can cause bleeding, Effient may increase the risk compared to Plavix but provides greater protection against severe cardiovascular events like strokes or heart attacks. The balance between these effects can make Effient a better option for certain high-risk populations who need acute intervention after experiencing an event like unstable angina or myocardial infarction.

What conditions is Effient approved to treat?

Effient is a recognized medication that has been approved for the management of certain heart conditions. Specifically, it's used in patients with:

  • Acute coronary syndrome (ACS) who are being managed with percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI)
  • Conditions like unstable angina or non-ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI)

This makes Effient an integral part of cardiovascular treatment regimens, particularly for those undergoing procedures to treat blockages in their heart arteries.

How does Effient help with these illnesses?

Effient, like Plavix, is a medication that helps to prevent platelets in your blood from sticking together and forming a blood clot. An unwanted blood clot can occur with certain heart or blood vessel conditions. Effient acts by irreversibly binding to the P2Y12 receptor on platelets, preventing ADP-mediated activation and aggregation of these cells. This inhibition of platelet aggregation reduces the likelihood of thrombotic events such as strokes or myocardial infarctions (heart attacks). While both medications serve similar functions, Effient has been shown to be more effective than Plavix at reducing rates of death from cardiovascular causes, nonfatal heart attacks or strokes in patients who have had severe chest pain or are diagnosed with unstable angina pectoris and are managed medically after an evaluation in the hospital. Therefore, it might be prescribed when a patient does not respond well to other antiplatelet drugs like Plavix.

How effective are both Plavix and Effient?

Both clopidogrel (Plavix) and prasugrel (Effient) are popular antiplatelet medications that have been approved by the FDA for preventing blood clots in patients with acute coronary syndrome undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention. They were initially approved a decade apart, with Plavix receiving its approval in 1997 and Effient in 2009. The two drugs function similarly as they inhibit platelet aggregation by irreversibly blocking P2Y12 ADP receptors on platelets.

The effectiveness of Plavix and Effient was directly compared in the TRITON-TIMI 38 trial where it was discovered that Effient was more effective than Plavix at reducing cardiovascular death, nonfatal heart attacks, or nonfatal stroke over a median follow-up period of about one year. However, this study also noted that patients taking Effient had significantly higher rates of major bleeding events compared to those on Plavix.

A review published in the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis suggested that while both drugs are effective at reducing recurrent cardiovascular events when used alongside aspirin therapy, there is no clear consensus regarding which drug should be preferred for long-term treatment due to concerns over increased bleeding risks associated with these agents.

It's important to note though that individual patient factors such as age, risk level for developing blood clots or experiencing a bleed event could impact the choice between these two medications. Moreover, genetic variability can affect how well clopidogrel works - some people metabolize it less effectively than others - whereas prasugrel does not seem to have this issue.

abstract image of a researcher studying a bottle of drug.

At what dose is Plavix typically prescribed?

Oral dosages of Plavix (clopidogrel) typically start at 75 mg/day for preventing stroke, heart attack, and other heart problems. For acute cases, a one-time loading dose of 300 mg might be given initially by the physician. On the other hand, Effient (prasugrel) is usually started with a loading dose of 60 mg then followed by a maintenance dosage of 10 mg per day. These medications should only be taken under medical supervision and it's essential to always follow your doctor's guidance on dosage to reduce the risk of bleeding complications. The maximum dosage that should not be exceeded in any case is as prescribed by your healthcare provider.

At what dose is Effient typically prescribed?

Effient therapy is typically initiated with a loading dose of 60 mg, followed by a standard maintenance dose of 10 mg per day. The dosage can be reduced to 5 mg in patients weighing less than 132 lbs (60 kg), or for those who are experiencing undesired side effects like bleeding. Effient should be taken once daily, irrespective of meals. It's important to note that discontinuation of Effient increases the risk of heart attacks and stent thrombosis; hence it should not be stopped without discussing with your healthcare provider. Also, before initiating treatment with Effient, any active pathological bleeding or history of stroke must be ruled out due to increased risk associated with these conditions.

What are the most common side effects for Plavix?

Common side effects of Plavix and Effient might include:

  • Easy bruising or bleeding
  • Purple spots on the skin
  • Blood in your urine or stools, coughing up blood, vomit that looks like coffee grounds (signs of internal bleeding)
  • Chest pain or heavy feeling, sudden numbness or weakness (especially on one side of the body), slurred speech, problems with vision or balance
  • Shortness of breath even with mild exertion
  • Swelling or rapid weight gain
  • Headache, confusion -Skin rash itching -Fever

Remember to seek immediate medical attention if you experience any severe symptoms. Never discontinue medication without consulting your healthcare provider first.

abstract image of a patient experiencing side effect

Are there any potential serious side effects for Plavix?

While taking Effient, you need to be aware of the potential for serious side effects that can occur. These include:

  • Signs of internal bleeding such as bloody or tarry stools, pink or brown urine, unexpected vaginal bleeding, vomit that is bloody or looks like coffee grounds.
  • Symptoms associated with a severe allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Indicators of low platelet levels - easy bruising and/or unusual bleeding from nose, mouth or wounds.
  • Chest pain including shortness of breath and rapid heart rate.
  • Stroke symptoms - sudden numbness on one side body especially on face and limbs; slurred speech; vision changes in one eye.

Also worthy to note is the likelihood of altered liver function presenting as yellowing skin/eyes (jaundice), dark urine coloration and extreme fatigue.

If you experience any significant change in health whilst taking Effient please consult your doctor immediately.

What are the most common side effects for Effient?

Effient, a platelet inhibitor like Plavix but with slightly different pharmacology, may also have its share of side effects. These could include:

  • Nausea or upset stomach
  • Dizziness or fainting spells
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising, including bloody or tarry stools and nosebleeds
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Swelling in the hands and feet
  • Fatigue and general weakness Remember that these are potential side effects; not everyone taking Effient will experience them. However, it's crucial to monitor for any unusual symptoms while on this medication and report them promptly to your healthcare provider.

Are there any potential serious side effects for Effient?

While Effient is generally considered safe and effective, some patients may experience notable side effects. These can include:

  • An allergic reaction that might manifest as a rash, hives, itching, difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Unusual bleeding such as nosebleeds or unusually heavy menstrual periods
  • Blood in urine or stools; black or tarry stools
  • Unexpected bruising
  • Vomiting blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds
  • Signs of a stroke: sudden numbness (particularly on one side of the body), severe headache, slurred speech, problems with vision or balance
  • Chest pain spreading to the jaw or shoulder

This is not an exhaustive list and other symptoms may occur. It's important to contact your doctor right away if you notice any unusual reactions after taking Effient.

Contraindications for Plavix and Effient?

Plavix and Effient, like most antiplatelet medications, may increase the risk of bleeding. If you observe excessive or prolonged bleeding, unusual bruising or blood in your stools or urine after taking these drugs, seek immediate medical attention.

Neither Plavix nor Effient should be taken if you are currently on other medicines that increase the risk of bleeding such as heparin and warfarin. Always inform your physician about any medications you're taking; certain drugs will need to be discontinued for a period of time to prevent dangerous interactions with Plavix and Effient.

Moreover, both Plavix and Effient can cause a serious condition called Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (TTP) that requires urgent treatment including plasmapheresis (plasma exchange). TTP is more common within the first month but can occur at any time while taking these medications.

How much do Plavix and Effient cost?

For the brand-name versions of these drugs:

  • The price for 30 tablets of Plavix (75 mg) averages around $230, which works out to approximately $7.67 per day.
  • The price for 30 tablets of Effient (10 mg) is about $190, working out to roughly $6.33 per day.

Therefore, if you're prescribed a standard daily dose, then brand-name Effient tends to be less expensive on a per-day treatment basis than Plavix. However, it's important to remember that cost should not be the primary factor when determining which drug is right for you; effectiveness and side effects also play crucial roles.

For the generic versions of these medications — clopidogrel (Plavix) and prasugrel (Effient), costs are significantly lower:

  • Clopidogrel is available in packs ranging from 15 up to 500 tablets (75 mg), with costs starting as low as approximately $0.08/day if bought in larger quantities upfront and not exceeding about $1/day.
  • Prasugrel comes in packs typically between 28 and 84 tablets (10 mg). Costs can range from about $0.50/day up to just over a dollar depending on pack size.

As with all medications, prices may vary based on location and supplier. Always consult your healthcare provider before making any changes related to your medication regimen.

Popularity of Plavix and Effient

Clopidogrel, also known by the brand name Plavix, was prescribed to an estimated 33.3 million people in the US in 2020. It accounted for a significant percentage of antiplatelet prescriptions, being one of the most commonly used medications for this purpose. The use of clopidogrel has been generally increasing over time since its approval.

Alternatively, prasugrel (brand name Effient) was prescribed to around 1 million individuals within the same year. Even though it accounts for a smaller percentage of overall antiplatelet prescriptions compared with clopidogrel, prasugrel is seen as a more potent option and tends to be chosen when patients have not responded adequately to other treatments or are at high risk for serious cardiac events due to their medical history or condition characteristics. Despite its lower prescription volume relative to clopidogrel, usage trends show that prasugrel's prevalence has remained relatively steady over recent years.


Both Plavix (clopidogrel) and Effient (prasugrel) are antiplatelet medications widely used in patients with heart disease, particularly those who have had a heart attack or stroke, or have peripheral artery disease. These drugs work by preventing platelets from sticking together and forming blood clots. The choice between the two often depends on the specific patient's condition and risk factors as they do not act identically.

Plavix is an older drug that has been extensively studied for its effectiveness in reducing the risk of stroke, heart attack, and death in high-risk patients. On the other hand, Effient is newer but has shown promise in clinical trials specifically among patients undergoing angioplasty procedures.

Both drugs come in generic form which represents substantial cost savings especially for patients paying out-of-pocket. However, it might take some time to achieve their full effects post-initiation of therapy.

The side effect profile of these two drugs is similar; both can lead to increased bleeding risk due to their mechanism of action. However, compared to Plavix, Effient may cause slightly more severe bleeding episodes including fatal bleeds although this outcome is rare. Therefore careful monitoring should be maintained while taking either medication.

Patients must immediately seek medical attention if they notice signs of excessive bleeding such as prolonged nosebleeds or unusual bruising while on therapy with either Plavix or Effient.