The FDA approved Xarelto – generic name rivaroxaban – for use as a blood thinner in 2012. This was big news, as it was the first oral anti-clotting drug to gain approval in nearly 60 years. Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals and Janssen Pharmacetucials, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, jointly market Xarelto. While Xarelto has helped many people avoid blood clots, others have suffered from dire blood-related side effects, resulting in an increasing number of lawsuits in the US and abroad. The problem is that unlike warfarin, Xarelto’s long-established blood thinning competitor, pharmaceutical companies haven’t yet developed a reversal agent for internal bleeding caused by Xarelto.
Uses for Xarelto
Patients recovering from hip and knee replacement surgery are at heightened risk for blood clots in their legs and lungs, also known as deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. Doctors prescribe Xarelto to minimize these risks. Deep vein thrombosis usually forms in the deep veins of the thigh or lower leg. Pulmonary embolism is when a clot escapes from a deep vein and journeys to an artery in a lung, blocking blood flow. People with atrial fibrillation are also candidates for Xarelto, if their condition isn’t caused by a heart valve problem. Using Xarelto could help such people prevent a stroke.
Xarelto, Bleeding and Blood Clots
Once you start taking Xarelto, stopping suddenly is dangerous. It can even increase your risk for developing a blood clot. This means you must stay on top of your prescriptions, laying in a new supply before finishing your last pills. If you are a forgetful pill taker who sometimes misses doses, Xarelto can be a very dangerous drug. Xarelto doesn’t mix well with other drugs. You may increase your risk for excessive bleeding if you combine Xarelto with:
- Warfarin, sold under the brand names Coumadin and Jantoven
- Aspirin or products which contain aspirin
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Medications containing heparin
- Clopidogrel, brand name Plavix
Getting a spinal tap or receiving spinal anesthesia is dangerous while on Xarelto. You have a higher risk of forming a blood clot in your spine, which could leave you paralyzed. Since Xarelto has no reversal agent, if you start bleeding severely while on the drug, you may bleed to death. Commercials and Lawsuits Law firms around the country have produced commercials urging wronged patients and their survivors to file lawsuits against Janssen and Bayer. Plaintiffs seek compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering. Some claim that the pharmaceutical companies failed to fully inform patients about Xarelto, especially the fact that severe bleeding can be irreversible. The FDA received 680 reports of serious complications from Xarelto in the first three months of 2013. The problem goes well beyond the US. In the first eight months of 2013, 968 Xarelto-related mishaps were reported to German health officials, including 72 deaths. If you or a loved one have suffered serious consequences – even death – from Xarelto, it may be time to consult a personal injury lawyer. You won’t be alone. In only two years, this drug has caused many serious health problems and fatalities.