Xarelto is a prescription drug prescribed used to prevent blood clots and the health issues associated with clots. Unfortunately, many users have found their use of the drug puts them at risk for health complications – including some the medication is supposed to prevent.
Xarelto is an anticoagulant medication that has quickly become one of the most popular drugs on the market. It is manufactured by Bayer HealthCare and sold in the United States by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a division of Johnson & Johnson. Xarelto was originally approved by the FDA in 2011 to reduce the risk for blood clots following hip and knee replacement surgery. The FDA later approved it for use in patients with atrial fibrillation.
Xarelto received a great deal of attention because it was the first anticoagulant that didn’t require ongoing monitoring of patients. Users of other anticoagulants must visit their doctors on an ongoing basis for dosage adjustments and they must adhere to a strict diet when using the medications. Xarelto is a more convenient drug to use and prescribe, but many now believe this convenience comes at a cost.
Xarelto Internal Bleeding Risks
Users of Xarelto have a dramatically higher risk of internal bleeding and those taking higher doses face an even higher risk. Events can begin suddenly, too, and without warning, so even those who have had success with Xarelto in the past are still at risk.
Xarelto is an anticoagulant, which means it prevents blood from thickening and clotting – it is a blood thinner. If a blood clot forms, it can block blood flow and/or travel throughout the body and cause problems. Unfortunately, the risks associated with Xarelto use are in some ways as bad as the conditions the medication is trying to prevent. Xarelto users have experienced a variety of serious side effects, including heart attacks, brain hemorrhages, gastrointestinal bleeding, and death.
One of the biggest concerns related to Xarelto use is the drug’s lack of an antidote. All blood thinning medications put users at risk for internal bleeding, but other medications have emergency antidotes that put an end to bleeding and prevent serious injury. Xarelto has no antidote, so patients will suffer side effects until the medication clears itself from the body.
The problem is severe enough that Xarelto is considered a high-risk prescription and the FDA recently concluded the medication should not be used to prevent heart attacks. Some medical studies have shown the ends do not justify the means with Xarelto – especially since there are viable, less risky alternatives.
Xarelto Internal Bleeding Lawsuits
The first lawsuit against the manufacturers of Xarelto was filed in June 2014 by a woman who was hospitalized for uncontrollable gastrointestinal internal bleeding after using the medication. The patient stated in her lawsuit that the risks for internal bleeding were not clear in the product labeling when she took the medication and she also accused the manufacturers of negligence for marketing a drug they knew was dangerous and had no antidote.
The FDA has at least 700 adverse event reports on file and regular reports continue to roll in. Users prescribed Xarelto for atrial fibrillation experience a heightened risk for internal bleeding when they use the medication for a year or more, but some patients experienced bleeding with far less use.
Internal bleeding can be extremely serious and for some the condition is fatal. Symptoms of internal bleeding include:
- Abnormal, unusual, or easy bruising
- Unusual bleeding from the mouth, genitals, or nose
- Black stools
- Dizziness and nausea
- Numbness, weakness, or loss of motion anywhere in the body
Bleeding events can begin suddenly and without warning. Unfortunately, because Xarelto requires less monitoring of patients by doctors, bleeding events can occur and create serious problems before a patient is even aware there is a problem. If you experience any of the symptoms indicated above or believe Xarelto is affecting your health in a negative way, you should seek medical attention immediately.
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