Video: Prilosec, Nexium weaken effects of Plavix

  1. Closed captioning of: Prilosec, Nexium weaken effects of Plavix

    >>> continue to. that's nightly.msnbc.com.

    >>> another piece of health news getting a lot of attention tonight involves all kinds of brand names you have heard on commercials. one specifically, a popular type of heartburn drug can interfere with the blood thinner plavix , which millions of americans take to reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. because plavix can upset the stomach, it is often prescribed alongside drugs like prilosec and nexium. the problem now, according to the fda, is that pro lie sec and nexium, weaken the evict of plavix . better choices, according to the fda, may lantia and zantac, different classes of stomach medicines.

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updated 11/17/2009 7:37:18 PM ET 2009-11-18T00:37:18

Federal health officials said Tuesday a popular heartburn medication can interfere with the blood thinner Plavix, a drug taken by millions of Americans to reduce risks of heart attack and stroke.

The Food and Drug Administration said the stomach-soothing drug Prilosec cuts the blood-thinning effect of Plavix by half.

Regulators said the key ingredient in the heartburn medications blocks an enzyme the body needs to break down Plavix, muting the drug's full effect. Procter & Gamble's Prilosec OTC is available over-the-counter, while AstraZeneca's Nexium is only available with a prescription.

"Patients at risk for heart attacks or strokes who use clopidogrel to prevent blood clots will not get the full effect of this medicine," the agency said in a statement.

Plavix is marketed by Sanofi-Aventis and Bristol-Myers Squibb. With global sales of $8.6 billion last year, it's the world's second-best selling drug behind Pfizer's cholesterol drug Lipitor.

Because Plavix can upset the stomach, it is often prescribed with stomach acid-blocking drugs.

The FDA says patients who need to reduce their acid should take alternative drugs like Johnson & Johnson's Mylanta or Boehringer Ingelheim's Zantac.

Information about the drug interaction between Plavix and certain heartburn medications is not new. In January, Sanofi and Bristol-Myers updated Plavix's labeling to advise against using it in combination with certain heartburn drugs, following medical journal articles about the negative interaction.

Image: Plavix Prilosec
Mark Lennihan  /  AP
The Food and Drug Administration said the stomach-soothing drug Prilosec cuts the blood-thinning effect of Plavix by half. Plavix is taken by millions of Americans to reduce risks of heart attack and stroke.

A Sanofi spokeswoman said the company has now bolstered that labeling.

"We've strengthened the label to say that these drugs should be avoided altogether, not just discouraged," said Noelle Boyd, Sanofi's senior communications director.

The FDA also warned that users of a range of other drugs, including the antidepressant fluoxetine, known as Prozac, could expect them to interfere with the effects of Plavix.

Other drugs to avoid taking with Plavix include the following medications:

  • Cimetidine, marketed as Tagamet and Tagamet HB, used to treat heartburn.
  • Fluconazole, marketed as Diflucan, an anti-fungal agent.
  • Ketoconazole, an anti-fungal drug marketed under brand names Nizoral, Extina, Xolegel and Kuric.
  • Etravirine, a drug used to treat HIV under the brand name Intelence.
  • Voriconazole, marketed as Vfend, to treat serious, invasive fungal infections.
  • Felbamate, marketed as Felbatol, an anticonvulsant drug used to treat epilepsy.
  • Fluvoxamine, marketed as Luvox, an antidepressant used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder.  
  • Ticlodipine, marketed as Ticlid, used to treat stroke.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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