Plavix and aspirin together can increase hemorrhage risk

Plavix and aspirin are sometimes prescribed together to prevent blood clots because the most popular alternative, warfarin, can lead to uncontrolled bleeding in some patients. But a new study has found the combination treatment can also cause serious hemorrhages.

Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examined emergency room cases of bleeding related to taking drugs that prevent clotting (also called antiplatelet therapy). They found that warfarin led to more cases of bleeding, including minor bleeding from nosebleeds and minor cuts. However, the risk of a life-threatening hemorrhage was not significantly different between the patients taking Plavix and aspirin compared with those taking warfarin. Hemorrhages that occur with warfarin can be managed, but the authors said, “there remain few similar interventions” for stopping bleeding from the combination antiplatelet therapy.

The study was published Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Doctors have long hoped for an alternative treatment for preventing blood clots, and now they have one. The medication Pradaxa, known generically as dabigatran, was approved earlier this month by the Food and Drug Administration. Other antiplatelet therapies are under investigation.


Related: Experimental drug could replace burdensome anti-stroke treatment warfarin

Return to Booster Shots blog.