What is Xarelto?
Xarelto is a blood thinner manufactured and distributed by Bayer and Johnson&Johnson. Anticoagulants, or blood thinners, are usually prescribed to patients who have had hip or knee replacement surgeries or to patients whose blood clots excessively. Xarelto works differently than other blood thinners because it blocks the chemical in the blood that helps the blood to clot, thrombin. Since it the drug was approved by the FDA in 2011, about 11 million prescriptions have been written for it across the United States.
What Are the Side Effects?
The side effects of Xarelto can be especially severe. Several studies have linked Xarelto to be the cause of massive internal bleeding events in individuals who are taking the drug. An accident such as a fall that would not be too serious in any other case can be traumatic if the individual is taking Xarelto because the blood will not be able to clot and stop any internal bleeding that may be caused by a bump or bruise. This uncontrollable internal bleeding can lead to many serious events, some being fatal.
What is Internal Bleeding?
Internal bleeding is when blood, either released from an artery or an organ, pools inside the body. Internal bleeding can cut off the blood and oxygen supply to other organs, causing them serious damage or to shut down entirely. Internal bleeding is very difficult to detect and individuals may not experience symptoms until hours after the bleeding began. The seriousness of an internal bleeding event depends on where the bleeding occurs in the body. Internal bleeding in or around the brain can starve the brain of oxygen and cause a stroke. In more serious cases, the bleeding can cut the brain off of oxygen, causing brain cells to deteriorate and die. Since Xarelto stops coagulation, a blood clot will not be made to stop the bleeding and a brain bleed can result in paralysis or death. Gastrointestinal bleeds, bleeding in the abdominal area, are also extremely dangerous because of the high concentration of vital organs in the area. Blood pooling around any of these organs, the kidneys, liver, stomach, can be very serious.
Internal bleeding is one of the dangerous incidents associated with taking Xarelto, but ironically the other dangerous event can be caused by stopping the medication prematurely. Stopping Xarelto usage prematurely can trigger unwanted blood clots. These unwanted and unnecessary blood clots can cause incidents such as deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. Deep vein thrombosis is when a blood clot forms in the deep veins of the arms or legs then travels to the lungs, causes a blockage, and cuts off the air supply causing a pulmonary embolism. Pulmonary embolism is very serious since the body can no longer process oxygen and when this occurs the body can begin to shut down. Pulmonary embolisms are especially dangerous because they are difficult to detect before symptoms start to show and once symptoms begin to present themselves it may already be too late.
Xarelto can also be dangerous if taken with certain other medications. Taking Xarelto with any of the medications listed below could cause unexpected, dangerous side effects. The complete list is as follows:
- Itraconazole – Sporanox and Onmel
- lopinavir – Kaletra
- Ritonavir – Norvir
- Indinavir – Crixivan
- Conivaptan – Vaprisol
- Carbamazepine – Tegretol, Tegretol-XR, Equetro, Carbatrol, Epitol, and Teril
- Phenytoin – Dilantin
- Rifampin – Rifater, Rifamate, Rimactane, and Rifadin
- St. John’s wort – Hypericum Perforatum
For more information on the side effects of Xarelto, visit our Xarelto Side Effects page.
Why is the Drug So Dangerous?
Because of the severe side effects, Xarelto currently has two ‘Black Box’ warnings attached to it. These are the most strict warnings the FDA can give to a drug without recalling it. A Black Box warning means that there is ‘reasonable evidence’ of an associated hazard with the drug, in this case, massive internal bleeding. What makes Xarelto more dangerous than other blood thinners, such as Warfarin, is that there is no known antidote or reversal agent for the drug. If a patient is taking Xarelto, suffers an accident, and experiences uncontrollable internal bleeding, there is no way to reverse the anticoagulant effects of Xarelto and control the bleeding. In the event of an injury to a patient taking a blood thinner other than Xarelto, doctors can administer vitamin K or protamine sulfate to counteract the effects of the blood thinner and help the blood clot. Since Xarelto blocks Thrombin, these antidotes will not work and currently there is no way to reverse the effects of Xarelto in an emergency situation.
Internal Bleeding Injuries in San Diego, California
Using known data, we are able to estimate the number of internal bleeding incidents that may have occurred in San Diego caused by Xarelto. By combining the known number of prescriptions written in the United States for Xarelto, 11 million, with the population of the United States at the time and the population of San Diego at the time of the 2010 Census, we are able to estimate the following data:
San Diego Population 2010 Census – 1,355,896
Xarelto Users in San Diego – 48,307
Internal Bleeding Injuries in San Diego – 821
San Diego Xarelto Lawyers
If you think that you or a loved one may be one of the 821 San Diego residents who have experienced any of the serious adverse events described above after taking Xarelto, our San Diego Xarelto lawyers are here to help. They are available 24/7 to answer any questions you may have. Contact them for a free case evaluation and consultation. You may be entitled to compensation for the injuries, pain, and suffering Xarelto has caused you and your family and not even be aware of it.
Resources for Xarelto Victims in San Diego
If you are taking Xarelto and feel like you may be experiencing its adverse side effects, it is important that you seek medical attention immediately. We have put together a list
Sharp Memorial Hospital
7901 Frost Street
San Diego, CA 92123
Alvarado Hospital Medical Center
6655 Alvarado Road
San Diego, CA 92120
If you have lost a loved one due to Xarelto usage, the San Diego Bereavement Center can help you cope with that loss.