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Xarelto and Atrial Fibrillation

History of Xarelto

Xarelto was initially approved by the Food and Drug Administration, FDA, in 2011 to treat various conditions including atrial fibrillation, deep vein thrombosis, to be used in patients who have recently undergone hip or knee replacement surgery, and to generally prevent blood clots.  Since its release, more than 11 million Xarelto prescriptions have been written in the United States and the drug has experienced a high volume of sales largely due to the fact that it was marketed as a much more convenient alternative to other blood thinners on the market, such as Warfarin, because it does not require the blood monitoring or restrictive diet that Warfarin does.  For more information on Xarelto on the United States market, visit this page.

What is Atrial Fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation is a heart condition.  It is the most common form of irregular heart rate or heart beat, also known as an arrhythmia.  When one experiences an arrhythmia, their heart can beat
either too slow, too fast, or with a different rhythm than normal.  Atrial fibrillation, also abbreviated as AF or AFib, occurs when the electrical signals that make the heart work are received by the heart in a disorganized and rapid fashion.  The disorganized signals cause the heart’s atria, the two upper chambers, to contract quickly and irregularly as opposed to the steady smooth way in which they normally operate.  These rapid contractions cause blood to pool in the atria because it is unable to be completely pumped down into the heart’s lower chambers, the two ventricles.  Because the blood cannot be moved through the heart regularly, the upper and lower chambers do not work in synchronization they way that they should.  For more information, visit the American Heart Association’s page on atrial fibrillation here.

Symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation can range from mild to serious, occasional to persistent to permanent.  Sometimes, patients who have atrial fibrillation may not experience any symptoms and it can be a rare
problem for some people and a long-term heart problem for others.  Atrial fibrillation that does not go away will probably require treatment and medical attention.  The condition on its own is usually not a life-threatening condition, but the symptoms it can cause can require serious medical treatment and can be considered an emergency.  In these cases, atrial fibrillation usually causes blood clots that form in the chambers of the heart and travel to other parts of the body, causing a blockage.  Because of the seriousness of some of its symptoms, undocumented and untreated atrial fibrillation can increase the risk of stroke, chest pain, and heart failure in patients.

Some of the other symptoms of atrial fibrillation include weakness, fatigue, lightheadedness, confusion, chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, and heart palpitations.  Atrial fibrillation symptoms can take several forms, occasional, persistent, or permanent.  Occasional atrial fibrillation is also known as paroxysmal atrial fibrillation.  This means that the patient will experience symptoms that come and go, only last for a few minutes or hours, and stop on their own.  Persistent atrial fibrillation is when the patient’s heart rhythm does not go back to normal on its own.  In this case, the patient will require medical interventions such as electric shock or medication, to reset the heart rhythm to normal.  Permanent atrial fibrillation is the most serious of the three.  It means that the patient’s atrial fibrillation is permanent and normal heart rate cannot be restored at all.  Medications are required in these cases to control the heart rate and many patients are also prescribed blood thinners to prevent blood clots.

Xarelto Prescribed to Treat Atrial Fibrillation

Since atrial fibrillation is a multifaceted heart condition, there are many different types of treatments required to stabilize a patient who suffers from it.  The treatment process depends on how long the patient has suffered from atrial fibrillation, the cause of the patient’s atrial fibrillation, and how serious the symptoms the patient is experiencing are.  The goals of a treatment plan for a patient whit atrial fibrillation are to control their heart rate or reset the heart to a correct rhythm and to prevent blood clots.  Xarelto was approved by the FDA to treat atrial fibrillation.  Many doctors prescribed Xarelto to their patients to treat this condition and to prevent blood clots and stroke that can be caused by this heart condition.  Specific treatments for atrial fibrillation can be found here.

The Real Dangers of Xarelto

Recently, lawsuits have been filed that allege that Xarelto is much more dangerous than other traditional blood thinners on the market.  These lawsuits allege that Xarelto can cause serious side effects such as excessive blood clots and uncontrollable internal bleeding which can result in severe injuries and even death in some patients.  The uncontrollable internal bleeding is caused because Xarelto has no corresponding antidote to its anticoagulant effects.  This means that if a patient experiences an internal bleed while they are taking Xarelto, there is no medical way short of extreme lifesaving interventions to stop the bleeding.  This is a very different situation than patients who are taking Warfarin are in.  If a patient taking Warfarin suffers from an internal bleed, a doctor will simply administer Vitamin K and the patient’s blood will clot again.

Victims of Xarelto Are Filing Lawsuits

If you or a loved one suffered from an internal bleeding incident while taking Xarelto, you may have a case for a lawsuit against the manufacturers of Xarelto, Bayer AG and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subdivision of Johnson&Johnson.  Xarelto victims all across the country are filing internal bleeding and wrongful death lawsuits against the manufacturers to hold them accountable for recklessly releasing the drug onto the market without an antidote and without adequately informing doctors how to stabilize patients who experience an adverse reaction.  If you or a loved one have been harmed by Xarelto, do not hesitate to contact our Xarelto lawyers immediately.

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