Aggrenox® is an antiplatelet drug that prevents platelets in the blood from clotting together, which can block blood flow to the heart and brain. This medication is often prescribed to people who have had a heart or stroke, as they are more likely to develop platelet clots that can cause another attack. Side effects typically are mild, but can include uncontrolled bleeding in rare cases; it is very important for patients to tell their doctors they are taking this medication before any medical procedures — including dental work.
Aggrenox® contains two medications that stop clotting: aspirin and dipyridamole. Both drugs prevent platelets in the blood from sticking to each other, which can impair blood flow. In worst case scenarios, blood clots can form in a narrowed blood vessel, which can completely block blood flow, triggering a heart attack or stroke. Aggrenox® is prescribed when doctors do not think aspirin is enough to reduce a person's heart attack or stroke risk.
People who have plaque buildup in their arteries can also benefit from this drug. The buildup of cholesterol, often caused by high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, can form in the arteries, making the space between the arterial walls smaller and inhibiting blood flow. High cholesterol levels also contribute to the formation of blood clots. Taking this drug can reduce the likelihood of these clots forming, preventing potential blood vessel blockages.
This drug cannot work effectively if the patient does not commit to a healthy eating and exercise regimen, however. The risk for blood clots — and narrowed passageways in the vessels — occurs more often in people who eat a high-fat diet, don't exercise or have trouble controlling their weight. If a person is overweight, his or her doctor may recommend regular exercise and a low-fat diet with daily Aggrenox® supplementation. Other recommendations may also include quitting smoking, a lifestyle factor that can weaken the blood vessels and raise the risk for a heart attack or stroke.
Side effects for Aggrenox® generally are mild. They typically include headaches, diarrhea, fatigue and heartburn. More serious symptoms that require medical attention include sweating, chest pain and difficulty breathing. If mild symptoms persist, a medical professional should be consulted as well.
Aggrenox®'s effects on platelet clotting can also make it easier to bleed, which can lead to uncontrollable bleeding in some situations. The risk for stomach bleeding is much higher in patients who take Aggrenox®, especially if they take it with other medications that increase this risk, such as ibuprofen or naproxen. Alcohol can also make it easier for the stomach to bleed. People who have to undergo surgery may bleed uncontrollably during an operation, which can become life-threatening.