If you’ve had knee or hip replacement surgery, are at risk for a stroke, or have a heart condition, you may take drugs to prevent blood clots, and you may have been prescribed Xarelto. This blood thinner is a new type of oral anticoagulant that can be prescribed to patients in a single, uniform dose. In 2013, Xarelto was the most advertised drug in health journals, and in 2015, the manufacturers of Xarelto spent over $7 million in print advertising.
How Does Xarelto Work?
Xarelto helps prevents blood clots by thinning the blood in your body. The chemical reaction from the drug causes an increase in the time it takes for blood clots to form. However, some blood thinners are safer than others, and Xarelto has recently been given a closer look due to the problems it has presented in some patients.
Xarelto is a relatively new drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2011. At the time, this new drug was considered more convenient than the older anticoagulant, warfarin, because it allowed for patients to have their blood tested less often than warfarin patients. Additionally, it was prescribed in one dose rather than multiple doses. This convenience, however, has some potential serious dangers.
Potential Dangers When Using Xarelto
There are some serious risks associated with this drug. Common side effects of Xarelto include:
- Weakness in the legs
- Back pain
- Bowel or bladder dysfunction
- Trouble swallowing or breathing
- Intestinal/abdominal bleeding
- Loss of controlled movements
- Abnormal function of the liver
- Bleeding in the brain
One of the primary risks associated with Xarelto is uncontrolled bleeding. Bleeding near a major organ such as the lungs, kidneys, or brain can create pools of blood that interrupt the blood flow to that organ and result in loss of functionality. Currently, there are no antidotes to stop the bleeding caused by Xarelto. For example, it’s possible that a patient whose doctor prescribed Coumadin—also known as warfarin—may have excess bleeding also; however, vitamin K can be used as a “reversal agent” to help stop the bleeding. But vitamin K cannot be used as an antidote for Xarelto because it will not work. At the present time, there is no reversal agent known to work with Xarelto. Additionally, the drug has been found to increase the risk of wound complications such as infections in knee and hip surgery patients. It’s important to discuss these risks with a doctor before using Xarelto.
Action Against Xarelto
Because of the serious complications that Xarelto presents, the FDA has placed a black box warning on the drug—the agency’s strongest caution. Additionally, Xarelto has been part of recent lawsuits. People have taken action against manufacturer Bayer Healthcare and Johnson & Johnson’s subsidiary, Janssen, who markets the drug. Victims allege that Xarelto caused their uncontrolled bleeding and failed to be clear about the dangers of the drug and warn the public. Over 4,5000 lawsuits are pending in court.
If You’ve Taken Xarelto
If you or a loved one suffered injuries after using the blood thinner drug Xarelto, you may have a case against Bayer and Johnson & Johnson. At the Tapella & Eberspacher Law Firm, we can help you hold negligent companies responsible for your injuries. Call our law office at (217) 394-5885, or visit our website for a free consultation.