Clopidogrel treatment prior to elective admission for Coronary Angioplasty with or without stent(s)

Patient Leaflets Team

  • Reference Number: HEY1215/2021
  • Departments: Cardiology


This leaflet has been produced to provide you with general information regarding your clopidogrel treatment and specific information on how to take it prior to your procedure.

Most of your questions should be answered by this leaflet. It is not intended to replace the discussion between you and the healthcare team, but may act as a starting point for discussion. If after reading it you have any concerns or require further explanation, please discuss this with a member of the healthcare team.

What is clopidogrel and why do I need it?

Clopidogrel is within a class of drugs known as ‘anti-platelets’. Platelets are very small cells in your blood that can stick together and cause a blood clot. When platelets build up and form a clot in a blood vessel, this stops the blood from flowing and cuts off oxygen to the tissue that vessel serves. Clopidogrel works to prevent these blood cells sticking together and forming a clot.

Your healthcare professional has prescribed you the oral tablet form of this drug to ‘load’ you with this medication sufficiently prior to your attendance for your procedure.   This will reduce the risk of adverse events associated with these types of clots following your procedure.

How should I take clopidogrel?

You will receive the following medication 5 x clopidogrel 75mg tablets.

The night prior to your procedure

Take 300mg (4 x 75mg tablets) at 6pm after your evening meal.

The morning of your procedure

Take 75mg (1 x 75mg tablet) in the morning after your breakfast.

Are there any risks or possible side effects?

You will have blood samples taken at pre-assessment. We will assess these blood results and if there is any reason why you should not take the clopidogrel prior to your admission you will be contacted by telephone.

Clopidogrel treatment is not advised if you:

  • are allergic to clopidogrel
  • have had a major surgery in the past 3 months
  • suffer from any bleeding disorders e.g. haemophilia
  • currently have an active stomach or intestinal ulcer

If you have any of the above apply to you, please notify your healthcare team and discuss this with the healthcare professional at pre assessment.

Like any medication, clopidogrel can sometimes cause side effects which you should be aware of. This is more likely to be an issue if you take clopidogrel as a long-term treatment.

Common (may affect up to 1 in 10 people who take clopidogrel)
  • Indigestion
  • Heartburn
  • Diarrhoea
  • Abdominal pain
Uncommon (may affect up to 1 in 100 people who take clopidogrel)
  • Headache
  • Stomach ulcer
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Flatulence
  • Dizziness
  • Itching
  • Short term sensation of tingling/numbness
Rare (may affect up to 1 in 1000 people who take clopidogrel)
  • Vertigo
  • Gynaecomastia (enlarged breasts in males)

Speak to your doctor or pharmacist if you experience any concerning side effects.

Other medications

Clopidogrel is generally safe to take with most medications. However, some medicines can affect the way clopidogrel works in your body. Inform your doctor, pharmacist or healthcare professional if you take any regular medication or are started on any new medication.

After the procedure

After your procedure, depending on the results, you may need to continue your clopidogrel treatment. If you require further treatment with clopidogrel, you should:

  • Take this with a glass of water
  • Aim to take your tablet at the same time each day
  • It is important to always read the instructions on the label

In this instance you will be provided a discharge prescription and a supply of medication from the Cardiac 5-Day Ward prior to your departure.

Should you require further advice on the issues contained in this leaflet, please do not hesitate to contact the Castle Hill Hospital Pharmacy Department: (01482) 623277 or 624283 or Contact the cardiac clinic: (01482) 461647
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