In 2011, Xarelto was introduced to Nevada residents and the American public as a medication used to reduce the risk of blood clots and stroke in people diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, as well as people recovering from knee or hip surgery. Xarelto was developed as a safe and more convenient option for people taking warfarin sodium, the traditional medication prescribed by physicians to control blood clotting.
This anticoagulant, however, has deadly side effects that have led to massive bleed outs and even death for some patients. Bayer, the manufacturer of Xarelto, and Johnson & Johnson, the distributor, have been accused of hiding dangerous information from the public that may have prevented these injuries and deaths from occurring.
Convenience vs. safety
Patients who take warfarin must be seen for bi-weekly, weekly or monthly blood tests to ensure that the drug is working within safe levels in the body. While the medication is designed to restrict the formation and growth of blood clots, the body must maintain the ability to form clots or else the patient runs the risk of bleeding out. If a warfarin bleed does occur, doctors have an antidote that can immediately reverse the effects of the medicine.
With the release of Xarelto, Bayer and Johnson & Johnson claimed that in the clinical studies, the drug worked even better than warfarin at controlling clots, and that people taking the medication did not need to be monitored, according to Science Daily. Reuters reported that U.S. medical professionals wrote over 130,000 prescriptions for Xarelto from January to March of 2012. Yet, the newest anticoagulant does not have an antidote to reverse its effects if a person should start bleeding or has too much medication in the body, making the drug incredibly dangerous.
Xarelto has been associated with hemorrhaging, bleeding in the brain, bleeding from the rectum and gastrointestinal bleeding. People who experience uncontrollable bleeds as a result of taking the medication may be left with extensive medical expenses if they are fortunate enough to live.
Examining the Xarelto lawsuit
The first U.S. lawsuits against Bayer were filed in June 2014. One patient, who suffered severe gastrointestinal bleeding from the medication, accuses the manufacturer of failing to warn the public of the serious risk of uncontrollable bleeds that stem from the medication. According to Bloomberg, court filings indicate that the deaths of 65 people have been connected to bleeding caused by Xarelto.
When a medication is approved by the U.S. Federal Drug Administration, most Americans believe that it is safe to take. In order for a drug to be approved by the FDA, researchers and manufacturers must undergo an arduous process than can take decades to complete. Xarelto and many other medications that have deadly side effects have met stringent FDA regulations and passed clinical trials. Some people are left wondering why federal officials released the drug into the public when it didn’t have an antidote.
The makers of Xarelto continue to deny product liability and assure the public that the benefits of taking the medication outweigh the risks. However, people that have taken the medication and have suffered a serious bleed may want to contact an attorney to discuss their options.