Allergology Xagena

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Allergic reactions to Clopidogrel can be treated with steroids and antihistamines

A clinical study of cardiac patients who suffered an allergic reaction to the widely-prescribed drug Clopidogrel ( Plavix ), found that treatment with a combination of steroids and antihistamines can alleviate the allergic reaction symptoms thereby allowing patients to remain on the drug.

The study followed 24 patients, who developed Clopidogrel allergies after undergoing coronary stent procedures. Eighty-eight percent ( 21 of 24 ) were able to stay on Clopidogrel uninterrupted after being treated with the antihistamines and a short course of steroids.

According to Authors, this is a very important study for many cardiac patients but especially those with stents. Every patient who receives a stent must take Clopidogrel 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 myocardial infarction which may be fatal. Those with a drug eluting stent are required to be on the drug for at least one year.

It is estimated that about six percent of those taking Clopidogrel shows some signs of an allergic reaction.

Previously, when patients had an allergic reaction to Clopidogrel, physicians would give an alternative drug. Rather than giving the secondary drug researchers concentrated on suppressing the patient's allergic symptoms they were having to Clopidogrel by administering low doses of steroids and antihistamines while continuing the drug. The patients became tolerant to Clopidogrel, essentially becoming desensitised to the drug enabling them to continue treatment. Once this occurred physicians were able to discontinue the steroids and even the antihistamines.

Previous anecdotal studies showed some evidence that patients could be desensitized to Clopidogrel, but this is the first systematic study to demonstrate allergy to the drug could be managed without stopping the drug after a reaction was found.

Source: Thomas Jefferson University, 2009