Xarelto (rivaroxaban) is a blood thinner or anticoagulant in wide use for a variety of purposes. The drug was first approved to prevent blood clots following surgery to replace a hip or knee. Later, Xarelto was again approved, this time by a divided FDA panel, for the reduction of stroke risk in persons diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation (AF). Most recently, Xarelto received fast-track approval to treat persons with pulmonary embolism (PE) or deep-vein thrombosis (DVT).
While Xarelto continues in wide use, lawsuits are currently being filed against drug maker Bayer Healthcare AG and Johnson & Johnson, which is marketing the drug in America through its Janssen Pharmaceuticals unit. Reports have been received of serious personal injury and death from patients who used Xarelto. The drug appears susceptible to causing irreversible, uncontrollable bleeding which may cause significant adverse effects, including brain hemorrhages, organ damage and even death.
Why use Xarelto?
Xarelto is only one of many blood thinners on the market. For instance, warfarin (Coumadin) is a safe and effective blood thinner which has been on the market for over 50 years. Is Xarelto a better drug that makes it worth these risks? It turns out that the advantages of Xarelto over warfarin are minimal. The use of warfarin requires the prescribing doctor to monitor the patient periodically and adjust the dosage accordingly to meet the patient’s individual needs. Xarelto, on the other hand, is delivered in one uniform dosage, which means less monitoring and fewer trips to the doctor required for the patient. Xarelto is there fore easier to use. But is it worth the risks?
All blood thinners come with risk. Blood thinners work by inhibiting the ability of the blood to coagulate. Uncontrollable or internal bleeding is therefore a risk inherent with all blood thinners. Yet, an important difference between Xarelto and warfarin is that warfarin-induced bleeding can be stopped simply and effectively with the treatment of large doses of vitamin K. This easy fix does not work for Xarelto. In fact, there is no known cure or antidote to stop bleeding caused by Xarelto usage. Only once the Xarelto has been flushed from the body will the bleeding stop, and it can take as much as 24 hours before the body can rid itself of the Xarelto in its system. Unfortunately, that is long enough to cause severe and lasting injury or even death.
Signs and Symptoms of Adverse Side Effects from Xarelto
If you get a cut on your skin and the blood doesn’t clot properly, you will know you have a problem right away. But Xarelto can also cause uncontrollable bleeding inside your body, and you may not know you have internal bleeding or intestinal bleeding until the symptoms are severe and damage has been done. If you are taking Xarelto, be alert for any of the following signs or symptoms that you may be experiencing internal bleeding that requires immediate medical attention:
- Dark bruises
- Swelling in the abdomen or elsewhere
- Bleeding gums
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Coughing or vomiting up blood or blood clots
- Presence of blood in your stool or urine
Should You Stop Taking Xarelto?
Why don’t the drug makers simply pull Xarelto from the market? The answer may be economic. Xarelto costs about $3,000 per year for a patient taking the drug, as opposed to about $200 per year for warfarin, so the pharmaceutical industry is making a fortune from Xarelto. Yet although Xarelto may be more convenient than warfarin, it has not shown to be any more effective as an anticoagulant, while the risks have proven to be much greater.
If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above, you should call your doctor or seek emergency medical help immediately. However, you should not stop taking Xarelto or any other prescription medication on your own without first discussing the issue with your doctor.
Help is Available for Xarelto Injuries
If you experienced harm from uncontrollable bleeding while taking Xarelto, or if you lost a loved one due to complications from bleeding, you may have a legal claim against the drug’s manufacturers and distributors. If successful, you can recover compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other legal damages. Equally important, you can help hold the pharmaceutical giants accountable for putting a dangerous product on the market without warning doctors and patients about the risks involved, or even for intentionally hiding important safety information from the medical community and the public. In New York City, contact attorney Leandros A. Vrionedes, P.C. for a free consultation to evaluate your claim.