New Plavix user asks "do I need a medalert bracelet?"
June 16, 2010 7:02 AM   Subscribe

So, as of today I'm off coumadin and on Plavix. I wore (and still have on) a medalert bracelet for the former drug at my doctor's insistence. I forgot to ask him about this detail when I saw him today.

Should I leave it on for a period of time, or lose it, or buy a Plavix bracelet? Searching for "Plavix bracelet" gives me a bunch of SEO bullshit, so I'm unsure on that. I just worry that after a car accident I might get a hotshot of TXA that's too high or too low, or something else that might fuck me up. What do I need to let EMT/ER types know what not to do if I show up unable to communicate? If it matters, I had a below-the-knee DVT, no heart attack, no stroke and I'm a M ~ 40 y.o. in the US.

posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (6 answers total)
Call his office. That's the sort of thing physicians routinely handle over the phone.
posted by valkyryn at 7:05 AM on June 16, 2010 [3 favorites]

You can try contacting Medicalert directly.
posted by TedW at 8:01 AM on June 16, 2010

I am a plavix user for heart issues. I have a card in my wallet. Quite frankly, it struck me as odd as I was hoping the EMT wasn't rifling through my wallet, but I was told to carry it. It also lists the other meds I take for heart. I have no bracelet nor was it suggested I get one.

Call your doctor.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:02 AM on June 16, 2010

Call your doctor. It might depend on what your clotting time/INR currently is as to whether you need to keep your bracelet for a while - which is something you need to talk to your doctor about.
posted by Coobeastie at 8:02 AM on June 16, 2010

It is good to have a card in your wallet with all your medications and medical history listed on it, in case you are unable to communicate with physicians (of course this is especially true with Coumadin, but Plavix is still a blood thinning agent that would be good to know if a patient is on).

Let's say you have another DVT, but this one causes a pulmonary embolism (clot that goes to your lung) that is large enough that you go into cardiac arrest. You show up at the hospital unable to communicate with anyone. Someone not knowing your medical history will treat you as if you might have had cardiac arrest from any cause, like a drug overdose, a heart attack, whatever. Knowing your medical history, they might immediately try giving you a major clot-busting agent, being much more suspicious of a clot vs. any other cause.

Coumadin can be quickly reversed using certain agents, but those cannot be used for Plavix. That being said, I've never seen anyone wearing a Plavix bracelet, because it's not quite as big a deal, but still certainly important to know.

These are just examples highlighting how important it is for medical providers to know your history. Your INR should be normal within a week of not taking Coumadin. TXA is not currently routinely used in trauma/EM/ERs in the USA, so the scenario that you propose seems unlikely unless you are outside this country, or if in the future people start using TXA now that it is being studied for this indication. It is used in the operating room for some reasons as I understand, but in those situations, the surgeon will likely already know about your Plavix.
p.s. IANYD, just thought I would provide more feedback for you!
posted by treehorn+bunny at 8:40 AM on June 16, 2010

I'm an Emergency Physician. I'd want to know if you were on Plavix AND that you have a history of a DVT.
posted by gramcracker at 4:43 PM on June 16, 2010

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