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Genetic Test for Clopidogrel


Topic Overview

Clopidogrel (Plavix) is a medicine to prevent blood clots, which can cause heart attacks and strokes. It may be prescribed after a heart attack, after angioplasty, and for people who have heart disease or peripheral arterial disease.

Some people have changes, or mutations, to a certain gene (CYP2C19). These changes may keep the body from being able to use clopidogrel to prevent blood clots. If a person with these genetic changes takes clopidogrel, the medicine may not work. This may raise the person's chance of having a heart attack or a stroke.

A DNA test can look for these changes. The test is done by swabbing the inside of your cheek.

This test alone is not enough to tell whether the medicine will help you. You also may have a test that shows how your body's platelets are working to clot blood. Having a platelet test after you take clopidogrel can show if the medicine is working.

Experts are still studying whether this genetic test helps doctors know who can benefit from clopidogrel. If your doctor thinks that your body is not using clopidogrel properly, he or she may give you this test.

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