Xarelto, Eliquis, Pradaxa, and the newly-marketed Savaysa are all members of a class of drugs known as New Oral Anticoagulants (NOACs). They are all advertised as a safer and easier to use alternative to Warfarin (Coumadin), which has been the long-standing drug prescribed to patients who suffer from an irregular heartbeat condition known as atrial fibrillation (Afib).
Afib patients require either a blood thinner like Warfarin or an oral anticoagulant like Xarelto to decrease the risk they will develop a serious clotting disorder. If patient develops clots deep within the veins of his or her legs, which is known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT), the clots can break loose and travel to the lungs, where they can puncture the tissue, causing a potentially deadly condition known as pulmonary embolism (PE). The clots can also block blood flow to the brain, which results in a stroke.
As our Xarelto injury attorneys in Boston understand, the irregular heartbeat puts patients at a greater risk for a clotting disorder. While Coumadin has been shown to work effectively at preventing clotting disorders, it does require a patient to have regular blood tests and watch his or her diet closely. If the dosage of Warfarin is off due to absorption issues, it can result in a serious bleeding disorder.
The drug companies that made these four new anticoagulants claim that their drugs are safer and easier to take that Coumadin, because there is no need for frequent blood tests or for a patient to watch his or her diet. However, as we have now seen in thousands of cases, these NOACs can result in serious internal bleeding disorders, including intracranial bleeding, and, since there is no currently-approved antidote or reversal agent, there is little if anything doctors can do to stop the bleeding, and many patients have died.
Despite these serious risks, the respective makers of these drugs are still trying to push sales as high as possible and have been waging a marketing war against each other to get doctors and patients to choose their drug over others. According to a recent news report from FiercePharma, Bayer and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson), a maker and marketing partner, are current leading the sales race and hope they will be able to strengthen their foothold on the lead with new safety data the companies plan to release. The companies are claiming their drug has lower “major bleeding rates” based upon two studies paid for by them. Essentially, the are claiming major bleeding rates of slightly less than three percent, which may be good for the majority of patients on the drug, but for those who get seriously ill and die without warning or a way to reverse their major bleeding, this is not comforting news.
On the other hand, Eliquis’s maker is claiming its drug has less major bleeding events than Xarelto. Again, even if we were to believe these claims, no company is saying that their drugs aren’t killing at least some of the patients taking the drug, nor are they saying there is any way to know who is at risk for developing a serious bleeding disorder.
If you are the victim of a Massachusetts drug injury due to taking Xarelto, call Jeffrey Glassman Injury Lawyers for a free and confidential appointment — (617) 777-7777.
UPDATED: J&J-Bayer and Pfizer-BMS look for marketing advantages in real-world Xarelto, Eliquis data, September 2, 2015, FiercePharma, by Carly Herald
More Blog Entries:
Risk for Internal Bleeding after Taking Pradaxa, August 22, 2014, Boston Dangerous Drugs Injury Lawyer Blog