The popular blood thinning drug Xarelto (rivaroxaban) is under increasing scrutiny due to some of its more severe side effects, such as uncontrollable bleeding. The number of Xarelto lawsuits is also rising. According to Reuters, Germany’s Bayer AG is facing its first lawsuits in the US over the drug, and the number of lawsuits is expected to rise due to dangerous Xarelto side effects.
For the last 60 years, the only oral anticoagulant (blood thinner) available has been Coumadin (also known as Warfarin). Warfarin is effective at reducing the risk of strokes and pulmonary embolism, but users need to undergo regular monthly checkups and abide by certain dietary restrictions. Warfarin also has a reversal agent, which means that if someone has been given the wrong dose or has elevated levels of the prescription in their bloodstream, vitamin K can be given to the patient to reverse the effects of Warfarin within as little as 10 to 15 minutes.
Xarelto has been heavily marketed (and successful – profits from Xarelto more than tripled from 2011 to 2012) because it is an oral anticoagulant that is effective but does not require regular checkups or dietary restrictions. Unlike Warfarin, it is a direct factor Xa inhibitor, which means that it interrupts and inhibits the body’s normal process for clotting. Using this technique has the negative consequence of lacking a reversal agent, so if a patient does suffer from a severe Xarelto side effect like uncontrollable bleeding, there is no way to quickly nullify the effects of the medication as there is with Warfarin; instead, the effects of Xarelto must wear off as they normally would in the body, which can take between 8 and 24 hours.
One of the most dangerous Xarelto side effects is uncontrollable bleeding. This destructive condition can cause permanent damage to organs and can even be fatal. Signs of severe bleeding include the following:
- Unusual bruising
- Prolonged bleeding from cuts or gums
- Persistent or frequent nosebleeds
- Unusually heavy or prolonged menstrual flow
- Pink or dark urine
- Coughing up blood
- Bloody vomit or vomit that looks like coffee grounds
- Severe headache, dizziness, or fainting
- Bloody, black, or tarry stools
A similar drug to Xarelto – Pradaxa – had incidence rates of minor and major bleeding in 16.4% of patients, but there is no accurate data to suggest exactly how many fatal and life-threatening cases there were; the number could be substantial. Even worse, studies indicate that regular testing, even if it were less frequent than the testing for Warfarin, could reduce the risk of major bleeds by 30-40 percent!
This is why many people are beginning to file suit to recover damages for the health problems they have suffered and that could have been prevented with a minor blood test they were not informed about. Others are making the claim that little or no information about the lack of a reversal agent was provided. And even more information may still be forthcoming that will allow individuals to pursue legal action against the manufacturers, distributors, or marketers of Xarelto.
At Crosley Law Firm, we are currently investigating Xarelto cases; you can read more about this issue on our website. If you or someone you know has required hospitalization while taking Xarelto, please contact us right away for a free consultation and case review. You can reach our office by calling (877) 535-4529 or by visiting our website to submit the details of your situation. The company responsible for Pradaxa has already agreed to pay $650 million dollars to settle approximately 4,000 lawsuits that claimed their drug caused severe and fatal bleeding. The sooner you contact us about Xarelto, the sooner we can help you.
Cohen, D. (2014, July 23). Dabigatran: How the drug company withheld important analyses. The BMJ. Retrieved from http://www.bmj.com/content/349/bmj.g4670
Siebelt, F. and Gould, J. (2014, June 14). Bayer faces law suits in United States over Xarelto. Reuters. Retrieved from http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/06/14/bayer-suit-idUSL5N0OV0G020140614
Xarelto. (2014). WebMD. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-156265/xarelto-oral/details#side-effects
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