If you have suffered a stroke, have heart disease or have a condition that affects your blood vessels, you may be prescribed a blood thinner such as Xarelto, Eliquis, or Pradaxa, which are known anticoagulants. This type of medication is designed to reduce the risk of another stroke or a heart attack by lowering the chances a blood clot will form in a vein or an artery. Blood thinners are also commonly prescribed for patients with congenital heart defects, atrial fibrillation (an abnormal heart rhythm), or those who have undergone heart valve surgery.
Unfortunately, use of Eliquis, Xarelto and Pradaxa can often result in severe complications. If you or a loved one has been harmed after the use of one of these medications, an attorney with Baron & Budd may be able to help.
The Dangers of Anticoagulant & Blood Thinner Medications
Xarelto, Eliquis, and Pradaxa are among the “new generation” of blood thinners and anticoagulants that have been introduced to the market in the last few years. They are marketed as an alternative to Coumadin, the brand name of the drug Warfarin. Unlike patients taking Coumadin, users of the new generation blood thinners with permanent anticoagulant effects do not have to be monitored nearly as often. Review our page detailing the difference between Xarelto and Warfarin to see the comparison.
The problem with these new blood thinners is that, while all of these types of medications present the risk of excessive bleeding, the threat is particularly acute with these because of their anticoagulant effect. The reason is that doctors can administer large doses of vitamin K or frozen plasma to patients taking Coumadin or Warfarin if they experience excessive bleeding events. These agents thicken the blood and stop hemorrhaging. However, there is no such antidote for those taking the newer blood thinners.
As a result, patients who use anticoagulant blood thinners like these are at a dangerous risk of severe – potentially even fatal – internal or excessive bleeding. In addition, some patients taking these drugs have also suffered liver damage, kidney failure, brain hemorrhage and more.
Comparing Coumadin With the “New Breed” of Blood Thinner
Warfarin was approved in 1954 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in order to prevent strokes. Many patients have used it over the years very effectively to treat several medical conditions, such as blood clots in the legs (deep vein thrombosis), pulmonary embolism (blood clots in the lungs), atrial fibrillation and mechanical heart valves.
While the drug has a long track record of effectiveness, there are certain drawbacks to taking the medication. The biggest is that it can be hard for a doctor to prescribe the right dosage. If he or she prescribes too much, there is a high risk of dangerous bleeding. But if not enough is prescribed, then a stroke risk will remain. Also, patients on Coumadin must have monthly blood tests in order for a doctor to be certain the drug is working properly. Patients also have to closely monitor their intake of foods such as green leaf lettuce and spinach, which have a great deal of vitamin K. If someone has too much vitamin K in his or her system, the medication will not be effective.
Drugs like Xarelto, Eliquis, and Pradaxa, on the other hand, do not require constant medical monitoring. Both drugs are touted as having the same ability as Coumadin to reduce the risk of stroke. However, again, if a patient goes through an excessive bleeding event there will be no way to stop it. There is no available antidote for either drug. That’s why the bleeding side effects of Pradaxa and similar medications is so serious.
There are a lot of variables that go into determining how long a patient will need to take a blood thinner. While some people need to take them for the rest of their lives, others may only need them for a few weeks. The risk of forming new blood clots will be the main factor in a doctor’s decision as to whether or not to keep a patient on this type of drug.
Anyone considering the use of a blood thinner must carefully weigh the risks and benefits of all anticoagulants on the market. They will need to tell their doctor about all of the medications they are taking as well, because certain medications may present the risk of potentially dangerous drug interactions.
How Baron & Budd Can Help
An attorney with Baron & Budd may be able to help if you or someone close to you has been harmed after taking Xarelto or Pradaxa. Call 866-795-8339 or complete our contact form to see if you may be eligible to file a blood thinner lawsuit for internal bleeding against those responsible for your suffering.