Blood thinners are a commonly prescribed medication for many Americans used to prevent dangerous blood clots in the body. There are many side effects associated with blood thinners, as with most prescription drugs, but when blood thinners are properly prescribed and monitored, there should be few complications. In late 2011 a new blood thinner came on the market known as Xarelto. What was once praised as the new frontier of blood thinner medication has become known as a dangerous and potentially deadly prescription drug.
Xarelto users and their families in Chicago and across the country are stepping forward to claim that their health has been placed at an unnecessary risk or that they have lost a loved one due to negligence in the manufacturing of Xarelto.
What is Xarelto?
Xarelto, generically known as rivaroxaban, is a prescription blood thinning medication, or anticoagulant, that is used to reduce the risk of blood clots. Xarelto is produced by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson and Bayer Health Care, and is prescribed in three common situations:
- reducing the risk of stroke in those with atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat);
- helping to prevent and treat deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE) which causes blood clots in deep veins like the legs and in the lungs; and
- reducing the risk of blood clots following hip replacement or similar surgeries.
Those with atrial fibrillation, DVT, PE, and those recovering from hip or knee replacement surgery are at a high risk for blood clots.
Blood clots are a natural and necessary reaction in the body that helps prevent bleeding when you scrape or cut your arm. However, sometimes blood clots occur when they are not needed in the body which can cause a heart attack, stroke, and many other serious medical complications. Xerelto is an anticoagulant blood thinner which means it works with the chemical reactions in the body so that it takes longer for a blood clot to form, hopefully preventing dangerous and unnecessary clots from occurring.
Blood-thinning medication typically requires a lot of maintenance for patients including dietary restrictions, frequent and time consuming blood monitoring routines, as well as dosage adjustments throughout treatment. However, when Xarelto came onto the market, manufacturers boasted its unique and attractive traits. It was advertised that Xarelto did not require regular blood monitoring, did not require dietary restrictions, and frequent dosage adjustments were no longer necessary. Janssen Pharmaceuticals stated in clinical studies that the drug had a predictable blood thinning effect, which made blood monitoring unnecessary. Studies also showed that the drug did not negatively interact with vitamin K (found in leafy greens and other vegetables) like other blood thinning drugs. Finally the makers of the drug boasted that most people prescribed Xarelto would maintain their original dosage throughout treatment so there was no need to fuss with dosage adjustments and different regimes for taking the drug.
The drug became popular very quickly,and there are currently over 13 million people in the United States taking Xarelto by prescription. Those with active life styles were quick to switch to Xarelto to avoid the many daily hassles that accompany other blood thinner medications.
Dangerous Complications with Xarelto
Unfortunately, not very long after Xarelto hit the market it became clear that the drug was not as it was advertised and that certain risks associated with the drug were present but unknown to patients.
In February of 2014, the FDA required Xarelto to update its black box warning, the strongest and most urgent warning, to include several new and very serious side effects of the drug including a high risk for spinal bleeding that can cause paralysis or death. The warning advised those with a history of spinal surgery or trauma to avoid the drug and for anyone taking the drug to avoid spinal procedures including spinal injections or epidurals. Then in February of 2015, the American Medical Association found that many of Xarelto’s FDA clinical trials were cited for not following protocol, making the clinical trial results unreliable. One of the trials received the most serious FDA clinical trial citation, which included discarding medical records and falsifications.
An issue with all blood thinners is that as they are working to slow the body’s natural process of blood clotting so if you become injured, uncontrollable bleeding can occur. If the injury is large enough and if the bleed is not stopped, a victim is at risk for falling unconscious or even dying from an injury.
In addition, while on blood thinners even the smallest bump can cause severe bruising. A bruise is discolored and tender skin caused by blood vessels that have ruptured. In most cases the body repairs these ruptured vessels, but when on blood thinners this process can be slowed or even prevented. This is especially true in cases of serious injury like that caused by a bad fall or a car accident. Sadly these types of bleeds are often not caught before it is too late. The blood thinning medication prevents the body from clotting and the person can experience uncontrollable internal bleeding that can be fatal or cause other serious complications.
This uncontrollable internal bleeding proved to be a very serious and deadly side effect of Xarelto. Users of the drugs claim that Janssen Pharmaceuticals failed to warn physicians and Xarelto users of the bleeding risk the drug created. Furthermore, Janssen failed to create an antidote to stop uncontrolled bleeding placing patients at extreme risk. Other blood thinning medications have antidotes that can be used to stop bleeding, but it appears nothing can stop uncontrolled bleeding in a Xarelto patient as typical antidotes do not reverse the concentration of the drug in the patient's blood.
There have been countless stories of Xarelto users bleeding out on the operating table due to typically treatable injuries because doctors are simply unable to stop the bleeding. Without an antidote Xarelto is incredibly dangerous and patients using Xarelto have a higher risk of dying or facing serious complications if severe internal bleeding begins.
Within one year there were 750 reports of adverse reactions to Xarelto and 58 deaths. Many have stepped forward claiming Janssen Pharmaceuticals continued to sell Xarelto even though they were aware of the risk and they failed to inform the public of this growing problem.
Legal Relief for Victims of Xarelto
If you believe you have suffered a complication caused by Xarelto, or if you believe your loved one has suffered a complication or died because of Xarelto, contact the defective drug attorneys at Abels and Annes, P.C. in Chicago. Legal action against the manufactures of Xarelto is being taken and you may be entitled to compensation if you were injured by the drug
We offer a no-cost, no-obligation case consultation to victims who contact us toll free at (855) LAW-CHICAGO (529-2442) or locally at (312) 924-7575 and everything discussed during the consultation will be kept confidential. If you prefer, contact us online and one of our attorneys will be in touch regarding your injuries.
If you suffered from harm after taking Xarelto, call Abels & Annes, P.C. toll free at (855) LAW-CHICAGO for a no-cost, no-obligation case consultation today.