clopidogrel bisulfate


Clopidogrel is a potent oral antiplatelet agent often used in the treatment of coronary artery disease, peripheral vascular disease, and cerebrovascular disease. It is marketed by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi-Aventis under the trade names Plavix and Iscover, and by Sun Pharmaceuticals under the trade name Clopilet. It works by blocking a receptor called P2Y12. Adverse effects include hemorrhage.


The mechanism of action of clopidogrel is an irreversible blockade of the adenosine diphosphate (ADP) receptor on platelet cell membranes. This receptor is named P2Y12 and is important in platelet aggregation, the cross-linking of platelets by fibrin. The blockade of this receptor inhibits platelet aggregation by blocking activation of the glycoprotein IIb/IIIa pathway.

Platelet inhibition can be demonstrated two hours after a single dose of oral clopidogrel, but the onset of action is slow, so that a loading-dose of 300-600 mg is usually administered.

Clinical use


Clopidogrel is indicated for:

  • Prevention of vascular ischaemic events in patients with symptomatic atherosclerosis
  • Acute coronary syndrome without ST-segment elevation (NSTEMI), along with aspirin
  • ST elevation MI (STEMI)

It is also used, along with aspirin, for the prevention of thromboembolism after placement of intracoronary stent.

International guidelines granted the highest grade of recommendation for NSTE-ACS, PCI and stent, for Clopidogrel in addition to Aspirin. Consensus-based therapeutic guidelines recommend also the use of clopidogrel, instead of aspirin, in patients requiring antiplatelet therapy but with a history of gastric ulceration, as inhibition of the synthesis of prostaglandins by aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) can exacerbate this condition. A recent study has shown that in patients with healed aspirin-induced ulcers, however, patients receiving aspirin plus the proton pump inhibitor esomeprazole had a lower incidence of recurrent ulcer bleeding than patients receiving clopidogrel.

Dosage forms

Clopidogrel is marketed as clopidogrel bisulfate (clopidogrel hydrogen sulfate), most commonly under the trade names Plavix, as 75 mg oral tablets.

Pharmacokinetics and metabolism

After repeated 75-mg oral doses of clopidogrel (base), plasma concentrations of the parent compound, which has no platelet inhibiting effect, are very low and are generally below the quantification limit (0.000258 mg/L) beyond 2 hours after dosing.

Clopidogrel is a pro-drug which requires metabolism by the liver for its activation.The active metabolite has an elimination half-life of about 8 hours and acts by forming a disulfide bridge with the platelet ADP receptor.

Following an oral dose of 14C-labeled clopidogrel in humans, approximately 50% was excreted in the urine and approximately 46% in the feces in the 5 days after dosing.

Effect of Food: Administration of CLAVIX (clopidogrel bisulfate) with meals did not significantly modify the bioavailability of clopidogrel as assessed by the pharmacokinetics of the main circulating metabolite.

Absorption and Distribution: Clopidogrel is rapidly absorbed after oral administration of repeated doses of 75 mg clopidogrel (base), with peak plasma levels (appx. 3 mg/L) of the main circulating metabolite occurring approximately 1 hour after dosing. The pharmacokinetics of the main circulating metabolite are linear (plasma concentrations increased in proportion to does) in the dose range of 50 to 150 mg of clopidogrel. Absorption is at least 50% based on urinary excretion of clopidogrel-related metabolites. Clopidogrel and the main circulating metabolite bind reversibly in vitro to human plasma proteins (98% and 94%, respectively). The binding is nonsaturable in vitro up to a concentration of 110 μg/mL.

Metabolism and Elimination: In vitro and in vivo, clopidogrel undergoes rapid hydrolysis into its carboxylic acid derivative. In plasma and urine, the glucuronide of the carboxylic acid derivative is also observed.

Adverse effects

Serious adverse drug reactions associated with clopidogrel therapy include:


Plavix has been the 2nd top selling drug in the world over the past years and was still growing by over 20% in 2007.

Plavix is marketed worldwide in nearly 110 countries.

In 2006, generic clopidogrel was briefly marketed by Apotex, a Canadian generic pharmaceutical company before a court order halted further production until resolution of a patent infringement case brought by Bristol-Myers Squibb. The court ruled that Bristol-Myers Squibb's patent was valid and has patent protection until November 2011. In 2007, the production was halted to many retail pharmacies and will be changing back to Plavix. In 2005 it was reported that Plavix was the world's second highest selling pharmaceutical with sales of US$5.9 billion. Generic clopidogrel is also produced by several pharmaceutical companies in India at significantly lower retail prices, up to 1/30th of the price.


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