Xarelto, The Unstoppable Blood Thinner

If you’ve ever had surgery — say, a knee replacement — or a diagnostic procedure like a heart catheterization, it’s very likely you were given an anticoagulant drug to prevent blood clots. Older patients are often on a regular anticoagulant regimen to prevent strokes and treat atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat).

For years, Coumadin (warfarin) was the “go-to” anti-clotting drug. But it must be carefully monitored and the dosage raised or lowered in response to the individual’s changing needs. For this reason, when Bayer came out with Xarelto (rivaroxaban) in 2011, it was welcomed as a drug that would treat clotting tendency while offering simplicity in prescribing and ingesting. No weekly or monthly blood tests. No dietary changes.

What more could you want? Maybe an antidote.

Occasionally people who are taking a blood thinner experience an episode of bleeding — perhaps from an injury, an ulcer, or if surgery is required. The anticoagulant effect of Coumadin can be reversed by the administration of Vitamin K. Patients who have been taking Xarelto, however, are at risk of an uncontrollable bleed because there is no known antidote to the drug — something the manufacturers didn’t talk about.

Xarelto has been reported to have caused irreversible internal bleeding in the brain, the eye, the stomach, and intestines. Older patients are at an even higher risk of serious bleeding, including lethal bleeds, because of their balance and trip and fall issues; the bruising or cuts resulting from a fall are potentially much more dangerous for elderly persons taking the blood thinner Xarelto. It has also been found that those who routinely take NSAIDS (such as aspirin, Motrin or Advil) for arthritis pain are more than twice as likely to have a major bleed if they also take Xarelto.

Thousands of reports of adverse events connected to Xarelto have been filed the world over — in Germany, Ireland, Canada — and in the U.S. between 2011 when Xarelto hit the market and 2013, more than 700 such reports had been filed.

Many Xarelto victims are seeking redress in the courts — so many, in fact, that they are being consolidated into mass torts so they can be handled more efficiently. Xarelto claims which have been (and continue to be) filed in federal courts across the country are being coordinated by a federal district in Louisiana. These plaintiffs, scattered from Florida to Utah to New York, all allege that they “suffered severe bleeding or other injuries as a result of taking Xarelto (rivaroxaban) and that the defendants did not adequately warn prescribing physicians or consumers of the risks associated with Xarelto, including the potential for severe or fatal bleeding and the unavailability of a reversal agent to counteract Xarelto’s anticoagulation effects. Issues concerning the development, manufacture, regulatory approval, labeling, and marketing of Xarelto thus are common to all actions.”

So many Xarelto cases have been filed in Pennsylvania state courts that the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas created a mass tort program (MTP) in January 2015 to consolidate them for judicial economy. These claims also have common issues about Bayer and Johnson & Johnson’s failure to provide adequate warnings of the risk of uncontrollable bleeding and the lack of an effective antidote.

Has someone in your family been harmed by Xarelto?

Pogust Millrood is currently investigating claims of uncontrollable bleeding caused by Xarelto. If you have incurred medical expenses and lost income because of an episode of internal bleeding related to your use of Xarelto, or if your loved one died because Xarelto caused them to experience an irreversible and fatal bleeding event, we can help.

For more information about this topic or to schedule a free consultation about your Xarelto claim, contact the Pennsylvania Xarelto litigation team at Pogust Millrood online or call 1-888-348-6787.