Over the past few years, doctors and patients around the country have increasingly reported serious, and sometimes fatal, complications arising from the use of Xarelto, a blood thinner drug that was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2011.
Xarelto is made by Bayer and marketed by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, which is owned by Johnson & Johnson. It was developed to prevent blood clots, and to treat deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolisms.
Since the 1950s, doctors used a drug called Warfarin as the primary blood thinning treatment. Warfarin, however, was difficult for patients to take because it had to be administered in frequent doses and required strict dietary restrictions. Xarelto was developed to avoid these problems. It is manufactured in pill form and only needs to be taken once or twice a day.
A common side effect in all blood thinning drugs is uncontrollable bleeding. Warfarin minimized the risks associated with uncontrollable bleeding by responding to Vitamin K as a reversal agent. If a patient on Warfarin developed uncontrollable bleeding, a doctor would simply administer a dose of Vitamin K to stop the bleeding and reverse the effects of the blood thinning drug. Xarelto, however, does not respond to Vitamin K, or any other substance, as a reversal agent. Thus, if a patient taking Xarelto is involved in a car accident or some other serious accident that causes severe bleeding, doctors have no way of stopping the bleeding.
In addition, doctors are reporting heightened risk of stroke, complications involving the combination of Xarelto with other drugs, and heightened risks for patients with poor kidney functioning. The baseline problem seems to be a lack of information about Xarelto in its real world use, which, some claim, is a result of inadequate testing.
A similar drug, Pradaxa, released about a year earlier than Xarelto, also promised to provide a better alternative to Warfarin, but doctors and patients have reported similar problems with Pradaxa and are filing suit against its makers.
Xarelto plaintiffs in lawsuits against Bayer and Johnson & Johnson are claiming damages for uncontrollable bleeding resulting in death and serious injury, and for concealing information regarding this side effect, and for not properly testing the drug before marketing it for consumption. Over 150 deaths have been reportedly associated with Xarelto since 2011.
Bayer and Johnson & Johnson have stood by their product. They respond to doctors’ concerns by saying that doctors need to develop follow-up and monitoring procedures for patients on Xarelto, just like they do with any other drug. Moreover, they maintain that the drugs were strenuously tested for many years and with consistent, positive results. They claim negative side effects are likely due to misuse of the drug, not the drug itself.
So far many patients who have suffered injuries associated with Xarelto have filed individual lawsuits. There is no class action suit pending at this time. It is possible that a federal judge will combine all of the pending individual suits into one case as a multi-district litigation (MDL) to resolve all of the cases more efficiently. As of June 2014, Bayer acknowledged that it had been served with ten lawsuits claiming uncontrollable bleeding caused by Xarelto.
If you are a patient currently or formerly on Xarelto, or you have a loved one who takes Xarelto, you should be extremely careful in monitoring your health. You should make frequent doctor visits and get regular testing done to make sure your body is responding to Xarelto properly. If you have noticed complications arising from Xarelto use, or have suffered an adverse reaction to Xarelto, you should immediately contact a personal injury attorney to see what legal remedies and compensation may be available for you.
The attorneys at the law offices of Altman & Altman have extensive experience with personal injury law. We have a vast network of medical experts who can help us determine the specific cause of your injury and the role Xarelto may have played in your injury or in aggravating your injury. Call us today for a free and confidential consultation. We will discuss the specifics of your case and decide how best to proceed. Although no amount of money can make up for your injuries or the loss of a loved one, you are legally entitled to compensation and we will work tirelessly to get you the damages you deserve.