[dropcap]A[/dropcap] randomized clinical trial involving 3,873 patients taking the blood thinner Plavix has put to rest concerns about combining the popular prescription medication for heartburn medication. Based on earlier, largely observational studies, the medical community was concerned that the heartburn drugs known as proton pump inhibitors or PPIs, can interfere with Plavix’s anticlotting ability.
“It is reassuring data that there is no clinically significant interaction between clopidogrel and PPI,” advised lead researcher Dr. Deepak Bhatt, chief of cardiology at the Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System. The study, which lasted six months, also showed patients taking PPI’s with Plavix (clopidogrel) had reduced gastrointestinal bleeding. Gastrointestinal Bleeding can be a serious complication to take prescription blood thinning medication, and doctors are happy that they can safely prescribe proton pump inhibitors and blood thinning medication to reduce risk.
Earlier less stringent studies had raised concern that proton pump inhibitors like Prilosec can interfere with the antiplatelet effect of Plavix. Without Plavix’s anticlotting effect, some patients may have been at risk for heart attack or stroke. But this study and a recent Danish study showed no such negative interaction. Researchers have however noticed a higher risk of diarrhea among those study participants who took both Prilosec with Plavix.
Plavix is the second best selling drug in the world (behind the cholesterol-lowering medicine Lipitor), and prescribed to prevent heart attacks and strokes. It is an anticlotting medicine called a platelet inhibitor. Platelets are small, irregularly shaped cell fragments found in the blood. Platelets help your body stop bleeding by holding together for a blood clot. But too many platelets in the blood can form unwanted and dangerous blood clots. These clots can block blood vessels of the heart, causing a heart attack or brain, resulting in a stroke. They can also cause a blockage in the lungs, called a pulmonary embolism. Anticlotting drugs inhibit the ability of platelets to clump together and form clots.
Proton pump inhibitors are the most potent and prolonged reducers of gastric (stomach) acid production available today. They have largely replaced the H2-receptor antagonists as prescription drugs of choice for acid-related conditions such as gastroesophageal disease (acid reflux), dyspepsia (indigestion), ulcers and laryngopharyngeal reflux (stomach acid flowing back into the throat). Proton pump inhibitors are the third best-selling class of drugs in the U.S., with a staggering 113.4 million prescriptions are filled each year.