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Clopidogrel Side Effects

For the Consumer

Applies to clopidogrel: oral tablet

In addition to its needed effects, some unwanted effects may be caused by clopidogrel. In the event that any of these side effects do occur, they may require medical attention.

Major Side Effects

You should check with your doctor immediately if any of these side effects occur when taking clopidogrel:

More common:
  • Chest pain
  • collection of blood under the skin
  • deep, dark purple bruise
  • itching, pain, redness, or swelling
  • pain in general
  • red or purple spots on the skin, varying in size from pinpoint to large bruises
Less common:
  • Nosebleed
  • painful or difficult urination
  • shortness of breath
  • vomiting of blood or material that looks like coffee grounds
  • Black, tarry stools
  • blistering, flaking, or peeling of the skin
  • blood in the urine or stools
  • confusion
  • fever, chills, or sore throat
  • headache (sudden, severe)
  • nausea or vomiting
  • stomach pain (severe)
  • ulcers, sores, or white spots in the mouth
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • weakness (sudden)
Incidence not known:
  • Abdominal or stomach cramps or swelling
  • back pain or backaches
  • blurred vision
  • change in mental status
  • cough or hoarseness
  • dark urine
  • difficulty with breathing or swallowing
  • difficulty with speaking
  • dizziness
  • dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
  • fast heartbeat
  • feeling of discomfort
  • general feeling of tiredness or weakness
  • hives
  • inflammation of the joints
  • itching
  • light-colored stools
  • lower back or side pain
  • muscle aches
  • pale color of the skin
  • puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  • rash
  • reddening of the skin, especially around the ears
  • seizures
  • sweating
  • swelling of the eyes, face, or inside of the nose
  • swollen lymph glands
  • swollen or painful glands
  • tightness in the chest
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • upper right abdominal or stomach pain
  • watery or bloody diarrhea
  • wheezing
  • yellow eyes or skin

Minor Side Effects

Some of the side effects that can occur with clopidogrel may not need medical attention. As your body adjusts to the medicine during treatment these side effects may go away. Your health care professional may also be able to tell you about ways to reduce or prevent some of these side effects. If any of the following side effects continue, are bothersome or if you have any questions about them, check with your health care professional:

Incidence not known:
  • Bad, unusual, or unpleasant (after) taste
  • bloating
  • change in taste
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • difficulty with moving
  • headache
  • hives or welts
  • indigestion
  • loss of appetite
  • muscle pain or stiffness
  • noisy breathing
  • pain in the joints
  • pains in the stomach, side, or abdomen, possibly radiating to the back
  • redness, soreness, or itching skin
  • seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there
  • skin blisters
  • sores, welting, or blisters
  • swelling or inflammation of the mouth

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to clopidogrel: oral tablet


The most commonly reported adverse effect was bleeding, including life threatening and fatal bleeding.[Ref]


In the COMMIT study (n=45,852), the incidence of major non-cerebral or cerebral bleeding was 0.6% in clopidogrel plus aspirin treated patients, with 0.4% classified as major non-cerebral (0.2% fatal) and 0.2% as hemorrhagic stroke (0.2% fatal). Non-major noncerebral bleeding or any noncerebral bleeding occurred in 3.6% and 3.9% of patients receiving this drug plus aspirin, respectively. Major bleeds were defined as cerebral bleeds or non-cerebral bleeds thought to have caused death or that required transfusion.

In the CURE study (n=12,562), the incidence of fatal bleeding (0.2%) and intracranial hemorrhage (0.1%) was the same between clopidogrel with aspirin and placebo with aspirin groups.[Ref]

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Fatal bleeding, eosinophilia, leucopenia, increased bleeding time, thrombocytopenia
Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Neutropenia
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Decreased platelet count
Postmarketing reports: Serious cases of bleeding (mainly skin), hemarthrosis, hematoma, hemorrhage of operative wound, fatal hemorrhage (intracranial, gastrointestinal, and retroperitoneal), thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP), acquired hemophilia A, aplastic anemia, pancytopenia, agranulocytosis, granulocytopenia, anemia[Ref]


In the CAPRIE study (n=19,185), gastrointestinal hemorrhage occurred in 2% of patients taking clopidogrel compared to 2.7% taking aspirin. Bleeding requiring hospitalization occurred in 0.7% clopidogrel-treated and 1.1% aspirin-treated patients.[Ref]

Common (1% to 10%): Abdominal pain, gastrointestinal hemorrhage, dyspepsia, diarrhea, nausea, gastritis
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Vomiting, flatulence, constipation, gastric, peptic, or duodenal ulcer
Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Retroperitoneal hemorrhage
Postmarketing reports: Colitis (ulcerative or lymphocytic), pancreatitis, stomatitis[Ref]


Postmarketing reports: Angioedema, anaphylactic reactions, cross reactive hypersensitivity among thienopyridines (e.g. ticlopidine, prasugrel)[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Chest pain, hypertension, angina pectoris, coronary artery disorder, peripheral ischemia
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Hematoma
Postmarketing reports: Hypotension, syncope, vasculitis[Ref]

Nervous system

Common (1% to 10%): Dizziness, headache
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Paresthesia
Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Vertigo, intracranial hemorrhage
Postmarketing reports: Taste disturbances[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Arthralgia, back pain
Postmarketing reports: Arthritis, myalgia, musculoskeletal bleeding[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Depression
Postmarketing reports: Hallucinations, confusion[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Upper respiratory tract infection, dyspnea, rhinitis, coughing, bronchitis, epistaxis
Postmarketing reports: Bronchospasm, interstitial pneumonitis, eosinophilic pneumonia, respiratory tract bleeding (hemoptysis, pulmonary hemorrhage)[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Rash, purpura, pruritus, bruising
Postmarketing reports: Maculopapular, erythematous, or exfoliative rash, urticaria, bullous dermatitis, erythema multiforme, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis, acute generalized exanthematous pustulosis, drug-induced hypersensitivity syndrome (DRESS), eczema, lichen planus[Ref]

In CAPRIE (n=19,185), 4.2% of patients receiving clopidogrel developed a rash compared to 3.5% in the aspirin group. In CURE (n=12,562), 1.3% treated with clopidogrel and aspirin compared to 1.1% placebo, as well as 0.7% of patients in CLARITY (n=3491) reported a rash. Drug discontinuation due to skin disorders in CAPRIE was 0.8% and in CURE 0.4% of patients.[Ref]


Postmarketing reports: Hepatitis (noninfectious), acute liver failure, abnormal liver function tests[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Hypercholesterolemia[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Urinary tract infection
Postmarketing reports: Hematuria[Ref]


Postmarketing reports: Eye bleeds (conjunctival, ocular, retinal)[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Accidental/inflicted injury, influenza-like symptoms, pain, fatigue, infection
Postmarketing reports: Fever[Ref]


Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Hematuria
Postmarketing reports: Glomerulopathy, serum creatinine increase[Ref]


Postmarketing reports: Serum sickness[Ref]


Postmarketing reports: Gynecomastia[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Puncture site bleeding[Ref]


1. Cerner Multum, Inc. "UK Summary of Product Characteristics." O 0

2. "Product Information. Plavix (clopidogrel)." Bristol-Myers Squibb, Princeton, NJ.

3. Cerner Multum, Inc. "Australian Product Information." O 0

Not all side effects for clopidogrel may be reported. You should always consult a doctor or healthcare professional for medical advice. Side effects can be reported to the FDA here.

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. In addition, the drug information contained herein may be time sensitive and should not be utilized as a reference resource beyond the date hereof. This material does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients, or recommend therapy. This information is a reference resource designed as supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill , knowledge, and judgement of healthcare practitioners in patient care. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate safety, effectiveness, or appropriateness for any given patient. does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of materials provided. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.