Plavix, also known generically as clopidogrel, is prescribed to prevent blood clots. People who have stents placed in their coronary arteries are often at high risk for clots that would obstruct blood flow through to the heart. That’s why doctors usually prescribe Plavix for up to a year after the drug-eluting stent is put in place.
A new analysis of Plavix research in the Journal of the American Medical Association reveals that non-smokers get little, if any benefit, from Plavix. The authors of this review found that in several studies the patients who did well on Plavix were smokers. Cigarette smoking revs up the enzyme that metabolizes clopidogrel to its active form. Non-smokers actually got as much benefit from aspirin as they did from clopidogrel. Cardiologists will need to assess this controversial analysis to determine whether the benefits of Plavix outweigh the risks for non-smokers.
[JAMA, June 20, 2012]