Plavix works by thinning the blood and preventing blood clots. Many doctors who prescribe Plavix have only been informed of the possible benefits of the drug. They did not receive any information from Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi-Aventis, the makers of Plavix, about studies that link the drug to heart attack, stroke, internal bleeding and death.
In 2007, Plavix was the second most prescribed drug in the world. The number of prescriptions is growing by 20 percent each year. One reason Plavix is so popular, is that it has the same blood thinning effect as aspirin, but without the risk of stomach bleeding and ulcers. It is marketed as being more effective than aspirin for preventing the formation of blood clots that could lead to heart attack and stroke. Many doctors prescribe Plavix to be used in combination with aspirin to prevent future heart attacks in people with heart disease. However, a 2006 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine stated that while many doctors believe the combination of Plavix and aspirin should reduce the risk of a second heart attack, the combination not only does not help reduce future heart attacks, but it nearly doubles the risk of death, heart attack, or stroke even in people with no history of heart disease. Another study found that heart attack patients who took aspirin in combination with an antacid did not experience stomach ulcers and had reduced occurrence of future heart attacks.
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