When physicians write scripts for Bayer’s billion-dollar blood thinner, Xarelto, to patients for the purpose of preventing blood clots and strokes, patients trust that the drug is safe and helpful. But, the drug is known to cause irreversible internal rectal and colon bleeding that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes death.
What Is Xarelto?
Xarelto (rivaroxaban) operates as an anticoagulant, or blood thinner. The oral medication developed by Bayer and Janssen Pharmaceuticals is a newer type of oral anticoagulant that is prescribed in one uniform dose. Xarelto functions by binding to a substance within the blood called factor Xa, which prevents the formation of thrombin. Thrombin is a primary component involved in the clotting of blood. Preventing the thrombin stops the formation of fibrin, the essential component of blood clots.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Xarelto for use in patients who have had orthopedic surgeries as a way to reduce the risk of blood clot formation, and then the FDA fast tracked the approval of the drug for general treatment of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, largely ignoring the devastating side effects that may occur. When the FDA fast tracks a drug, they expedite the approval of it, which involves skipping critical steps in the assessment of the harmful effects of the drug.
Rectal And Colon Bleeding Side Effects
One of the most severe side effects of Xarelto is uncontrolled rectal and colon bleeding. Because Xarelto prevents clotting, the hemorrhaging will continue until the drug is flushed out of the system. Reports on Xarelto have revealed that rectal and colon bleeding occurring in patients who are taking Xarelto is one of the most common side effects. In reported cases, patients may be hospitalized and given blood transfusions while doctors attempt to control the bleeding. Follow up testing with these patients does not indicate any pre-existing rectal or colon issues, leading doctors to believe that the bleeding was a direct result of Xarelto. The lack of any known antidote to quickly reverse the effects of the drug is an aspect of Xarelto that is concerning and puts patients at a higher risk. Due to the fact that there is no reversal for Xarelto, while there is for warfarin, a number of deaths in emergency rooms result from uncontrollable bleeding that can’t be stopped in time. Signs that a patient is experiencing rectal or colon bleeding are:
- Deep colored or bright red blood mixed with stool
- Black, tarry stool that has a foul smell
- Severe abdominal or rectal pain
- Low blood pressure
- Large blood clots
For more information about other Xarelto side effects, click here.
In 2011, the New England Journal of Medicine published the results of a Rocket AF study that analyzed the effectiveness and side effects of Xarelto as compared to warfarin. Warfarin, until recently, was the drug of choice for over fifty years for blood clot and stroke prevention. The study revealed that Xarelto was not more effective than warfarin and was more likely to cause rectal and colon bleeding than warfarin. However, doctors continue to prescribe Xarelto at astonishing rates due to the one daily dosage of Xarelto.