Xarelto® (rivaroxaban) is advertised as a wonder drug — a “next generation” blood thinner to replace warfarin for prevention of blood clots and stroke. Unfortunately, Xarelto’s makers chose not to warn that the drug also causes uncontrollable internal bleeding that may lead to death. That calculated decision has led to hundreds of deaths and many more injuries.
How is Xarelto different from earlier anticoagulants?
Xarelto is a new type of anticoagulant, or blood thinner, known as a “Factor Xa inhibitor.” The drug “inhibits,” or prevents, blood clots from forming.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Xarelto for a number of specified uses, including:
- For hip and knee replacement patients, to avoid and treat deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE); and
- For nonvalvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF) patients, to minimize the risk for stroke.
Before Xarelto and other blood thinners like it came on the market, doctors prescribed warfarin (Coumadin) or heparin. The problem with warfarin is that users must take the drug at mealtime, eat a limited diet and have their blood monitored frequently. These restrictions are unnecessary with Xarelto, its manufacturers claim.
But these are not the only differences between Xarelto and warfarin. With Xarelto, once internal bleeding starts — even from something simple like banging your shin on the bed corner — there is no way to stop it. With warfarin, by contrast, internal hemorrhaging can be controlled with high doses of vitamin K or plasma products.
Xarelto’s dangerous side effects
Xarelto lawsuits filed across the country describe a variety of injuries caused by Xarelto’s dangerous side effects.
Xarelto: uncontrollable bleeding. The risk of unstoppable, possibly fatal, bleeding is Xarelto’s most dangerous side effect. Symptoms of internal hemorrhaging include: headaches, spitting up blood, and a stool that is red or black. The risk for injury is even higher when Xarelto is consumed with other drugs, including aspirin and several others.
Xarelto: wound complications. Patients who undergo knee or hip replacement surgery sometimes receive Xarelto to reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. But a number of studies indicate that patients given other treatments, like compression stockings and aspirin, actually have fewer wound complications than those treated with Xarelto. Post-surgical complications with Xarelto include:
- Excessive oozing and drainage;
- Chronic pain in the surgical site;
- Limited range of motion; and
- Revision surgery to correct the Xarelto-related wound complications.
Xarelto: Blood clots near the spinal cord. Patients taking Xarelto may be at risk for developing a blood clot around the spinal cord or in the brain when undergoing a spinal tap or receiving an epidural anesthetic. Such blood clots may cause stroke, paralysis and other injuries. Xarelto
patients at a heightened risk include those who:
- Need an epidural catheter to administer medication through the back;
- Use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs);
- Have had difficulty with previous spinal punctures or had them frequently; and
- Have undergone spinal surgery.
Xarelto: Other side effects. Here are some other commonly reported Xarelto side effects. Some are potentially life threatening:
- Dramatic changes in blood pressure;
- Racing heartbeat (tachycardia);
- Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia);
- Numbness and itching, tingling or burning of the skin;
- Bladder or gastrointestinal problems;
- Difficulty swallowing;
- Dizziness or fainting;
- Back pain;
- Weakness or pain in the extremities; and
- Muscle spasms.
Xarelto manufacturers’ wrongful conduct
Xarelto is manufactured by the German pharmaceutical giant, Bayer A.G. The anticoagulant is marketed by the Belgian company, Janssen Pharmaceutica, which has been a division of Johnson & Johnson since 1961.
Though Xarelto’s manufacturers knew of the drug’s potentially dangerous side effects, the companies chose not to share their knowledge.
Call Hardee, Martin, Donahoe & Owens, P.A. to see if you may have a case, if you have suffered any of the above signs or symptoms.