Xarelto, like Eliquis and Pradaxa, are members of a class of drugs known as New Oral Anticoagulants (NOACs). While, technically, they are not a blood thinner like Coumadin (Warfarin), as they are closer to a class of medications known as statins, their respective makers hope they will go head-to-head with Warfarin and eventually replace it as the treatment of first resort for many patients.
Warfarin itself has a rather interesting history, as it was first discovered in relation to a disease that was killing cattle in the 1920s. After being created, it was then marketed as a rodenticide agent, and later used (unsuccessfully) by the United States Army as an experimental suicide agent. Eventually, it became used for its current purpose to treat atrial fibrillation patients.
As our Boston Xarelto injury attorneys can explain, patients who suffer from a medical condition known as atrial fibrillation (Afib) are in need of either a blood thinner or an anti-clotting agent to prevent clots from forming in their veins. A clot can block the flow of blood, causing a stroke, or a clot can break loose from a vein and travel through the circulatory system in the body and eventually puncture a hole in a patient’s lung. When this deadly medical condition occurs, it is known as a pulmonary embolism (PE).
According to a recent news feature in Ring of Fire, Xarelto and its classmates all share a deadly side effect involving serious internal bleeding, including intracranial bleeding, for which there is no FDA approved cure or treatment. If a patient presents at an emergency room with Xarelto-related internal bleeding, it can be deadly, and there is often nothing doctors can do. This has resulted in many deaths and many more cases of serious personal injury, which has in turn led to thousands of products liability lawsuits being in filed in courts across the country. Most of these lawsuits have been consolidated in a single court to streamline litigation and promote judicial economy.
While Coumadin was shown to be an effective treatment, there are problems with it, as it is difficult to administer, and dose must be monitored frequently to prevent an internal bleeding condition. This requires patients to undergo frequent blood tests and monitor their diet closely, as certain foods can have a significant effect on Warfarin absorption, which can also lead to a serious bleeding disorder.
Xarelto, like Pradaxa, and Eliquis, can be administered in the same dose to all patients, and they do not require constant monitoring. These drugs also cost significantly more than Warfarin. Warfarin has an estimated annual cost of around $100, whereas Xarelto has an average cost of around $3,000.
The other main difference between these medications, and the basis for these lawsuits, is that while Warfarin can lead to internal bleeding if a dose is off, Xarelto patients can do everything right and still develop internal bleeding without warning.
In the numerous complaints plaintiffs across the country have filed against Xarelto makers, it has been alleged drug company knew of these risks for serious adverse events and took substantial steps to hide this information from prospective patients. This is known as a claim of failure to adequately warn of a known danger.
If you are the victim of a defective drug in Boston, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment: 1-888-367-2900.
Xarelto – How Many Lawsuits Will Eventually be Filed , Apr. 20, 2015, Ring of Fire
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Hardin v. PDX, Inc.: On Lamatrigine Litigation, August 3, 2014, Boston Products Liability Lawyer Blog