Xarelto Linked to Blood Clots, Stroke

Xarelto is the brand name of the drug, Rivaroxaban, a newer prescription anticoagulant (blood thinner), co-marketed by Bayer and Johnson & Johnson. This drug received FDA approval in 2011. Xarelto is used to reduce the risk of blood clots and stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation; to treat deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism; and to reduce the risk of blood clots in patients undergoing knee or hip replacement surgery. This drug is promoted as easier to use, since less monitoring is required during treatment.

Xarelto is part of a class of anticoagulants called direct factor Xa inhibitors. Sometimes referred to as blood thinners, anticoagulants interfere with the normal clotting of the blood. Clotting stops the bleeding from an open cut or wound, however, some patients experience clotting when they are not injured. Atrial fibrillation is a heart condition, in which an irregular heartbeat can cause blood to pool in the heart, leading to clots. These clots can potentially travel to the brain, causing a stroke. Blood clots that develop in the legs (deep vein thrombosis) and blood clots in the lungs (pulmonary embolism) can cause serious complications and/or death if untreated.

The first medication approved in the U.S. from this new class of blood thinners was Pradaxa, which has been the subject of thousands of bleeding injury lawsuits. It was announced last month that Boehringer Ingelheim, maker of Pradaxa, will pay an estimated $650 million to settle Pradaxa lawsuits filed by about 4,000 people nationwide.

Like Pradaxa, the difference between Xarelto and the older blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin), is that there is no effective reversal to control the effects of bleeding or hemorrhage that may occur while using this medication. This can increase the risk of severe injury or death in the event of a hemorrhage.

According to a report by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP), Xarelto has been associated with “serious, disabling or fatal injury,” including blood clots or thromboembolic events.

Researchers found a nearly three-fold increase in the rate of major bleeding among patients with acute medical illness. It has also been reported that patients who suffer from Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS) face more than triple the risk of major bleeding when taking Xarelto. A recent study also showed that hip surgery patients who take Xarelto have almost double the risk of severe bleeding.

If you or a loved one suffered a stroke, severe bleeding or blood clot after taking Xarelto, you may have grounds for a lawsuit. Contact one of our Gacovino Lake attorneys at 1-800-246-HURT (4878) for more information.

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