Plavix vs Xarelto: Which Is Best for My Cardiovascular Health?

Category: Medical FAQ


Posted on March 1, 2024

Scott is passionate about health and wellness, and enjoys writing on various topic surrounding these fields. Scott lives in Seattle and spends his free time restoring old furniture and playing pickleball with his friends.

Plavix vs Xarelto

When comparing Plavix vs Xarelto for cardiovascular health, Xarelto is a newer technology with a somewhat lower risk of severe side effects, while Plavix can greatly reduce the cost of your anticoagulant since it comes as a generic.

Both drugs share the same goal: preventing blood clots from forming. They go about it in different ways, with Plavix being an antiplatelet drug and Xarelto being a factor Xa inhibitor.

However, the right drug for you depends on your specific condition. For example, your doctor may prescribe Xarelto for venous thromboembolism. Plavix is more commonly recommended for preventing heart attack and stroke.

Want to get informed before talking to your doctor about these two medications? If so, keep reading this guide for the most important facts to know.

What Is Plavix?

Plavix is the brand name for the prescription drug clopidogrel. It is an antiplatelet medication doctors prescribe to prevent blood clotting or coagulation.

Plavix Uses

Doctors often prescribe antiplatelet medications like Plavix to people who have had heart attacks or strokes. Plavix may reduce the risk of future cardiovascular events in these individuals.

Anticoagulants like Plavix work by keeping blood cells from sticking together. People with heart problems and a high risk of stroke can benefit from this medication because it reduces arterial blockage.

Plavix Side Effects

Increased bleeding is the most common side effect of Plavix. In some cases, this symptom can be fatal. See a doctor immediately if you experience uncontrollable bleeding while taking this drug.

Other concerning side effects requiring emergency medical care include:

  • Blood in urine or stool
  • Coughing or vomiting blood
  • Nosebleeds
  • Easy bruising
  • Jaundice
  • Increased heart rate
  • Shortness of breath
  • Headaches, fever, fatigue
  • Seizures
  • Low blood sugar

Blood clots may still occur while using Plavix. If you experience symptoms like sudden numbness, weakness, confusion, problems with your vision, or difficulty speaking, get emergency attention as soon as possible.

What Medications Should Not Be Taken With Plavix?

Plavix should not be taken with medications it interacts with, including dasabuvir, ombitasvir, paritaprevir, ritonavir, defibrotide, and selexipag. Other drugs to avoid while taking Plavix include but are not limited to:

  • Other anti-blood-clot medications like warfarin
  • Prescription pain medications
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Repaglinide
  • Selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) like cimetidine, esomeprazole, and omeprazole

Always consult with a doctor to ensure your prescriptions do not interact with Plavix before taking this medication.

What Is Xarelto?

Xarelto is the brand name for the prescription drug rivaroxaban. It is a factor Xa inhibitor doctors prescribe to prevent blood clots.

Xarelto Uses

Doctors primarily prescribe Xarelto to treat venous thromboembolism (VTE). Deep vein thromboses (DVTs) and pulmonary embolisms (PEs) are VTEs that affect the legs and lungs, respectively.

Xarelto can also treat arterial fibrillation. Adults having knee or hip replacement surgery or other procedures that increase the risk of blood clots due to immobility may also receive an Xarelto prescription.

Finally, your doctor may prescribe Xarelto and aspirin to reduce the risk of fatal cardiovascular events in people with coronary artery or peripheral arterial diseases.

What Is the Main Side Effect of Xarelto?

The main side effect of Xarelto is increased bleeding. Easy bruising is also common when using this medication. However, both of these symptoms are usually mild in most people taking Xarelto.

If you experience the following severe bleeding symptoms, contact a doctor immediately:

  • Uncontrollable or frequent nosebleeds
  • Unusual bruising
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Unexplained pain, swelling, or discomfort
  • Prolonged oral bleeding
  • Abnormally heavy menstrual cycles
  • Blood in urine, vomit, or stool
  • Severe headaches
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Trouble swallowing

Rarely, Xarelto can cause extremely severe bleeding symptoms, such as visual disturbances, confusion, weakness on one side of the body, or difficulty speaking.

What Should You Avoid With Xarelto?

You should avoid taking antiplatelet drugs, NSAIDs, blood thinners like warfarin, and mifepristone with Xarelto. SSRIs and SNRIs are also typically off-limits for people prescribed this drug.

Other medications to avoid while using Xarelto include but are not limited to the following:

  • Cobicistat
  • Dronedarone
  • Ritonavir
  • Azole antifungals
  • HIV protease inhibitors
  • Rifamycins
  • Anti-seizure medications
  • St. John's wort

You should also avoid using aspirin with Xarelto unless a doctor recommends it to reduce the risk of cardiovascular events.

Comparing Plavix vs Xarelto

Plavix and Xarelto are both anticoagulants, meaning they reduce blood clotting. However, these drugs fall under unique drug classes, come at very different price points, have distinct uses, and feature varying severities of side effects.

Plavix vs Xarelto Drug Class

Plavix and its generic form, clopidogrel, fall into the class of antiplatelet medications. It prevents blood cells from clumping together.

Xarelto is a factor Xa inhibitor. It is a new anticoagulant designed to reduce factor Xa, molecules in the blood that generate thrombin- the primary compound involved in forming blood clots.

Plavix vs Xarelto Generic

Plavix (clopidogrel) is available in generic form. Unfortunately, there is currently no lower-cost generic available for Xarelto.

Generic versions of brand-name drugs can greatly reduce the cost of prescription medications. That's why you can usually find a better deal on clopidogrel than brand-name rivaroxaban.

Plavix vs Xarelto Uses

Plavix is only prescribed for cardiovascular conditions, such as heart attack and stroke.

Xarelto has a much broader range of uses, from treating VTEs to reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Plavix vs Xarelto Side Effects

Plavix and Xarelto both cause increased bleeding as a side effect. However, Xarelto has a slightly lower risk of severe or extremely severe bleeding, making it somewhat safer than Plavix and its generic, clopidogrel.

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Comparing Plavix and Xarelto can help you and your doctor determine which is best for your needs. Keep this guide handy for your next appointment to remember the different uses, side effects, and benefits of each medication.

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