Dangers and complications abound for users of Xarelto

The blood thinner Xarelto can be dangerous for users.

After almost 50 years of market domination in the class of blood-thinning drugs, the generic drug Warfarin (once sold primarily under the brand names Coumadin and Jantoven) lost a good deal of its market share with the 2011 introduction of Rivaroxaban (sold under the brand name Xarelto). Since then, Xarelto has been prescribed millions of times, and has been approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in several clinical situations where blood thinners may be required, including:

  • Atrial fibrillation (a type of heart valve defect that causes an irregular heartbeat and can lead to blood clots and strokes)
  • After knee or hip replacement surgery
  • To treat and lower the risk of both deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE)

Unlike Warfarin, Xarelto is a standard dose, taken once a day, and is marketed as requiring little to no patient blood monitoring. This is in stark contrast to Warfarin, where patients must undergo blood tests prior to starting the drug and every two to four weeks while taking it. Warfarin comes in several different strengths, and the dose is tailored to meet the patient's needs depending on the results of the aforementioned blood tests.

Lack of a "safety valve"

For all its faults, there is a reason why Warfarin has persisted in the marketplace for well over 50 years: it is effective, inexpensive and relatively low risk. While Warfarin does require significant monitoring (particularly for patients who must be on it for a long period, the follow-up testing can be both expensive and time-consuming), it has proven to be both safe and effectual when used properly. It is also cost-effective, with an entire year's worth of medication only costing around $200; compare this to Xarelto, which costs about $3,000 per year.

Another important benefit of Warfarin was that, if a patient started experiencing uncontrollable bleeding - a risk with any blood thinning or anti-clotting medication - an antidote could be given. Warfarin acts by suppressing the amount of Vitamin K available in the body to produce blood clotting factors; if a patient started bleeding too much, an injection of Vitamin K could stabilize the situation. No such antidote or "safety valve" exists for Xarelto, which works not on Vitamin K, but on something called "Factor Xa."

Once a patient taking Xarelto begins to experience excessive bleeding, it can be very difficult for doctors to stop the blood loss. This can easily lead to irreparable harm in the form of serious injury or even death. Patients can also suffer strokes or blood clots after stopping Xarelto; these could also cause injury or death.

There have been thousands of Xarelto-related lawsuits filed since it was approved for sale in 2011, and with millions of prescriptions written, there is the possibility of even more. If you or someone you love has been injured because of Xarelto, you have legal rights. To find out more, and to schedule a free consultation with a Xarelto injury lawyer, contact the law firm of Reich and Binstock, LLP. Call their Houston law office toll free at 877-643-3099, locally at 713-622-7271 or send an email.