Xarelto and Internal Bleeding
Xarelto (rivaroxaban) is an anticoagulant or a blood thinner given to patients whose blood, for a variety of reasons, is at a risk of clotting. The drug works by preventing the activity of one of the clotting factors necessary for the series of biochemical events that cause our blood to clot.
However, it is also necessary for the ability of the blood to remain at a certain minimum thickness. Whenever something interferes with that clotting ability, as in the case of Xarelto, the patient runs the risk of the drug working too well. When this happens, excessive bleeding may occur.
Bleeding can be either external or internal. In the case of Xarelto, some of the biggest concerns are the risks of serious internal bleeding. These include:
- Uncontrolled internal bleeding
- Bleeding in the intestines
- Hemorrhaging of blood in the brain
- Bleeding from the rectum
In May 2012, an FDA panel, by a narrow vote, recommended against expanding use of the anticoagulant Xarelto because "concerns over dangerous bleeding outweighed evidence that the drug helped reduce the risk of blood clots in patients with serious heart problems."
The Chairman of the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic was a panel member who voted against expanding the use of the drug in patients with acute coronary syndrome. This condition occurs in patients when a blood clot blocks a vessel leading to the heart, depriving the heart muscle of the oxygen.
The drug has already been approved to prevent blood clots from forming in patients after knee and hip replacement surgery. The FDA also previously approved the drug to treat people with atrial fibrillation, a common type of rhythm disturbance in the heartbeat.
"We really want to have very compelling evidence" that the drug helps patients, Dr. Nissan told The New York Times. The newspaper said that according to Dr. Nissan, "evidence of increased bleeding should not be taken lightly, and that when the bleeding was in the brain it could lead to irrevocable damage, a complication that he said some considered worse than death."
The physician said, "It's terribly unpleasant for the patient. These bleeds are not trivial."
No Antidote for Xarelto Bleeding
If Warfarin, another anticoagulant, causes excess bleeding, doctors have an antidote. They can give the patient a blood clotting factor that is part of a cascade of events leading to the formation of a clot.
With Xarelto in the case of excess bleeding, however, there is no such antidote and patients can bleed to death. Doctors are still looking for a way to stop the bleeding once it starts. The potential for uncontrollable bleeding makes Xarelto a dangerous drug. Some heath care providers are expressing concern over the safety of the drug, but it continues to be one of the most commonly prescribed anticoagulants on the market.
Internal Bleeding Lawsuits
our attorneys represent individuals and families affected by uncontrollable bleeding events associated with Xarelto use. If you or someone you love has suffered because of this serious and life threatening side effect, contact us to find out if you qualify for financial compensation. We will discuss your circumstances and determine if you are eligible to file a lawsuit.
Call or email us today to schedule a consultation with an experienced attorney.