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Allergic reaction symptoms from Clopidogrel treatable with steroids and antihistamines
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February 11, 2010  |  Posted in  Steroids Blog

Allergic reaction symptoms from Clopidogrel treatable with steroids and antihistaminesA study of cardiac patients who have suffered allergic reactions to clopidogrel, also known as Plavix, has suggested that a combination of steroids and antihistamines can prove highly effective for alleviating allergic reaction symptoms.

The findings of this study were presented at the American College of Cardiology’s Annual Scientific Session by Primary investigator Michael P. Savage, M.D., director, Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and Kimberly L. Campbell, M.D.

From News-Medical.Net:

“This is a very important study for many cardiac patients but especially those with stents,” said Savage. “Every patient who receives a stent must take Plavix to help prevent stent thrombosis which is clotting of the stent. This obviously poses major problems if the patient suffers an allergic reaction to the medication. To discontinue taking the drug can lead to a heart attack which may be fatal. Those with a drug eluting stent are required to be on the drug for at least one year. Our patients with drug eluting stents actually averaged 17 months on Plavix versus the minimum of one year. That’s a very long time to not be on a medication that may save your life.”

Plavix is one of the most prescribed drugs world-wide. Data from 2007 shows Plavix is the fourth most sold drug in the United States with almost four billion dollars in sales, according to IMS Health, a leading pharmaceutical industry monitoring company. It is estimated that about six percent of those taking the drug showed some signs of an allergic reaction.

John R. Cohn, M.D., chief of Adult Allergy at Thomas Jefferson University and Hospitals and a key contributor to the study noted, “Previously, when patients had an allergic reaction to Plavix we would give an alternative drug but they can have their own side effects. Rather than giving the secondary drug we concentrated on suppressing the patient’s allergic symptoms they were having to Plavix by administering low doses of steroids and antihistamines while continuing the drug. What we found was that most of our patients became tolerant to Plavix, essentially becoming ‘desensitized’ to the drug enabling them to continue treatment. Once this occurred we were able to discontinue the steroids and even the antihistamines.”

Doctors from the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital noted that patients can continue to remain on Plavix after the symptoms have been alleviated by the combination of steroids and antihistamines.

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