When patients first learned about one of the newest anticoagulants on the market, Xarelto, they were ecstatic. The manufacturers, Bayer AG and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, had finally created a “one size fits all” blood thinner.
The drug was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2011 for the prevention of blood clots and deep vein thrombosis in patients undergoing knee and hip replacements, atrial fibrillation, patients with acute coronary syndrome.
Prior to Xarelto, patients who were prescribed blood thinners had to regularly return for testing, sometimes as often as once a week. This testing determines if the dosage needs to be changed. The dosage of older blood thinners can be affected by diet, illness, physical activity, and medications.
With Xarelto, all patients are given the same dosage, regardless of the reason that they have been prescribed a blood thinner. This very reason is why the drug quickly became one of the most prescribed anticoagulants in the country. Doctors and patients alike believed they had finally found a way to avoid the time consuming rechecks that older blood thinners require.
The Dangerous Side Effects
Unfortunately, patients have found that the drug does have some very serious side effects.
After giving their initial approval, the FDA has since released two black box warnings for the drug. The black box warning is the most stringent warning that the department can issue on the label of a prescription drug. It is applied when there is reasonable evidence that a drug has a serious hazard associated with it.
The first of these black box labels indicates that if a patient stops using the blood thinner too quickly there is an increased risk of blood clots forming. The second warning informs patients that a spinal hematoma may occur, which could result in paralysis.
Doctors have also become extremely concerned about the fact that Xarelto has no known antidote. While it may have been annoying to constantly check the levels of older blood thinners, if the patient was seriously injured, physicians are able to administer Vitamin K. This vitamin will reverse the effects of the blood thinner and allow the blood to clot so that the patient doesn’t bleed to death. However, Vitamin K doesn’t work on Xarelto, and at this time, there is no way for doctors to reverse the effects of the drug. This means that if the patient has internal bleeding, doctors have to perform blood transfusions because there is no way to force the blood to clot. Sadly, blood transfusions don’t always work in time, and many patients pass away from the blood loss.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Since 2014, thousands of Xarelto lawsuits have been filed, many of which are wrongful death complaints.
A wrongful death complaint may be filed when someone dies due to the negligence or fault of another party. The negligent party doesn’t have to be just one person – a company or even the government can be named as the defendant.
The purpose of this type of lawsuit is to provide compensation for the losses suffered by the deceased’s loved ones. The claim is typically filed by a representative of the estate on behalf of the survivors. These survivors are often referred to as “the real parties in interest”. Those who may be considered “real parties of interest” vary widely from state to state. Depending on location, children, spouses, parents, life partners, brothers, sisters, grandparents, or anyone who is financially dependent on the deceased may be able to pursue legal action.
In the majority of Xarelto wrongful death complaints, a spouse or child is alleging that the blood thinner caused internal bleeding or a blood clot, which resulted in the death of their loved one. They are seeking compensation for the wages the deceased would have earned, the support they would have provided, medical expenses, and funeral and burial costs.