PLAVIX- clopidogrel bisulfate tablet, film coated
A-S Medication Solutions LLC


PLAVIX (clopidogrel bisulfate) is an inhibitor of ADP-induced platelet aggregation acting by direct inhibition of adenosine diphosphate (ADP) binding to its receptor and of the subsequent ADP-mediated activation of the glycoprotein GPIIb/IIIa complex. Chemically it is methyl (+)-(S)-α-(2-chlorophenyl)-6,7-dihydrothieno[3,2-c]pyridine-5(4H)-acetate sulfate (1:1). The empirical formula of clopidogrel bisulfate is C16 H16 ClNO2 S•H2 SO4 and its molecular weight is 419.9.

The structural formula is as follows:

Chemical Structure

Clopidogrel bisulfate is a white to off-white powder. It is practically insoluble in water at neutral pH but freely soluble at pH 1. It also dissolves freely in methanol, dissolves sparingly in methylene chloride, and is practically insoluble in ethyl ether. It has a specific optical rotation of about +56°.

PLAVIX for oral administration is provided as either pink, round, biconvex, debossed, film-coated tablets containing 97.875 mg of clopidogrel bisulfate which is the molar equivalent of 75 mg of clopidogrel base or pink, oblong, debossed film-coated tablets containing 391.5 mg of clopidogrel bisulfate which is the molar equivalent of 300 mg of clopidogrel base.

Each tablet contains hydrogenated castor oil, hydroxypropylcellulose, mannitol, microcrystalline cellulose and polyethylene glycol 6000 as inactive ingredients. The pink film coating contains ferric oxide, hypromellose 2910, lactose monohydrate, titanium dioxide and triacetin. The tablets are polished with Carnauba wax.


Mechanism of Action and Pharmacodynamic Properties

Clopidogrel is a prodrug, one of whose metabolites is an inhibitor of platelet aggregation. A variety of drugs that inhibit platelet function have been shown to decrease morbid events in people with established cardiovascular atherosclerotic disease as evidenced by stroke or transient ischemic attacks, myocardial infarction, unstable angina or the need for vascular bypass or angioplasty. This indicates that platelets participate in the initiation and/or evolution of these events and that inhibiting platelet function can reduce the event rate.

Clopidogrel must be metabolized by CYP450 enzymes to produce the active metabolite that inhibits platelet aggregation. The active metabolite of clopidogrel selectively inhibits the binding of adenosine diphosphate (ADP) to its platelet P2Y12 receptor and the subsequent ADP-mediated activation of the glycoprotein GPIIb/IIIa complex, thereby inhibiting platelet aggregation. This action is irreversible. Consequently, platelets exposed to clopidogrel’s active metabolite are affected for the remainder of their lifespan (about 7 to 10 days). Platelet aggregation induced by agonists other than ADP is also inhibited by blocking the amplification of platelet activation by released ADP.

Because the active metabolite is formed by CYP450 enzymes, some of which are polymorphic or subject to inhibition by other drugs, not all patients will have adequate platelet inhibition.

Dose dependent inhibition of platelet aggregation can be seen 2 hours after single oral doses of PLAVIX. Repeated doses of 75 mg PLAVIX per day inhibit ADP-induced platelet aggregation on the first day, and inhibition reaches steady state between Day 3 and Day 7. At steady state, the average inhibition level observed with a dose of 75 mg PLAVIX per day was between 40% and 60%. Platelet aggregation and bleeding time gradually return to baseline values after treatment is discontinued, generally in about 5 days.



After single and repeated oral doses of 75 mg per day, clopidogrel is rapidly absorbed. Mean peak plasma levels of unchanged clopidogrel (approximately 2.2-2.5 ng/mL after a single 75-mg oral dose) occurred approximately 45 minutes after dosing. Absorption is at least 50%, based on urinary excretion of clopidogrel metabolites.

Effect of Food

The effect of food on the bioavailability of the parent compound or active metabolite is currently not known.


Clopidogrel and the main circulating inactive metabolite bind reversibly in vitro to human plasma proteins (98% and 94%, respectively). The binding is nonsaturable in vitro up to a concentration of 100 mcg/mL.


Clopidogrel is extensively metabolized by the liver. In vitro and in viv o, clopidogrel is metabolized according to two main metabolic pathways: one mediated by esterases and leading to hydrolysis into its inactive carboxylic acid derivative (85% of circulating metabolites), and one mediated by multiple cytochromes P450. Cytochromes first oxidize clopidogrel to a 2-oxo-clopidogrel intermediate metabolite. Subsequent metabolism of the 2-oxo-clopidogrel intermediate metabolite results in formation of the active metabolite, a thiol derivative of clopidogrel. In vitro , this metabolic pathway is mediated by CYP3A4, CYP2C19, CYP1A2 and CYP2B6. The active thiol metabolite which has been isolated in vitro, binds rapidly and irreversibly to platelet receptors, thus inhibiting platelet aggregation.


Following an oral dose of 14 C-labeled clopidogrel in humans, approximately 50% of total radioactivity was excreted in urine and approximately 46% in feces over the 5 days post-dosing. After a single, oral dose of 75 mg, clopidogrel has a half-life of approximately 6 hours. The elimination half-life of the inactive acid metabolite was 8 hours after single and repeated administration. Covalent binding to platelets accounted for 2% of radiolabel with a half-life of 11 days. In plasma and urine, the glucuronide of the carboxylic acid derivative is also observed.


Several polymorphic CYP450 enzymes activate clopidogrel. CYP2C19 is involved in the formation of both the active metabolite and the 2-oxo-clopidogrel intermediate metabolite. Clopidogrel active metabolite pharmacokinetics and antiplatelet effects, as measured by ex vivo platelet aggregation assays, differ according to CYP2C19 genotype. The CYP2C19*1 allele corresponds to fully functional metabolism while the CYP2C19*2 and CYP2C19*3 alleles correspond to reduced metabolism. The CYP2C19*2 and CYP2C19*3 alleles account for 85% of reduced function alleles in whites and 99% in Asians. Other alleles associated with reduced metabolism include CYP2C19*4, *5, *6, *7, and *8, but these are less frequent in the general population. Published frequencies for the common CYP2C19 phenotypes and genotypes are listed in the table below.

Table 1 — CYP2C19 Phenotype and Genotype Frequency
Frequency (%)*
White (n=1356) Black (n=966) Chinese (n=573)
Xie, et al. Annu Rev Pharmacol Toxicol 2001; 41: 815-50
Extensive metabolism: CYP2C19*1/*1 74 66 38
Intermediate metabolism: CYP2C19*1/*2 or *1/*3 26 29 50
Poor metabolism: CYP2C19*2/*2, *2/*3 or *3/*3 2 4 14

To date, the impact of CYP2C19 genotype on the pharmacokinetics of clopidogrel’s active metabolite has been evaluated in 227 subjects from 7 reported studies. Reduced CYP2C19 metabolism in intermediate and poor metabolizers decreased the Cmax and AUC of the active metabolite by 30-50% following 300- or 600 mg loading doses and 75 mg maintenance doses. Lower active metabolite exposure results in less platelet inhibition or higher residual platelet reactivity. To date, diminished antiplatelet responses to clopidogrel have been described for intermediate and poor metabolizers in 21 reported studies involving 4,520 subjects. The relative difference in antiplatelet response between genotype groups varies across studies depending on the method used to evaluate response, but is typically greater than 30%.

The association between CYP2C19 genotype and clopidogrel treatment outcome was evaluated in 2 post-hoc clinical trial analyses (substudies of CLARITY-TIMI 281 [n=465] and TRITON-TIMI 382 [n=1,477]) and 5 cohort studies (total n=6,489). In CLARITY-TIMI 28 and one of the cohort studies (n=765; Trenk 3), cardiovascular event rates did not differ significantly by genotype. In TRITON-TIMI 38 and 3 of the cohort studies (n= 3,516; Collet,4 Sibbing,5 Giusti 6), patients with an impaired metabolizer status (intermediate and poor combined) had a higher rate of cardiovascular events (death, myocardial infarction, and stroke) or stent thrombosis compared to extensive metabolizers. In the fifth cohort study (n=2,208; Simon 7), the increased event rate was observed only in poor metabolizers.

Pharmacogenetic testing can identify genotypes associated with variability in CYP2C19 activity.

There may be genetic variants of other CYP450 enzymes with effects on the ability to form clopidogrel’s active metabolite.

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