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Doctors Discuss Pradaxa, Eliquis & Xarelto Side Effects. The Future of Blood Thinning & Anti-Coagulant Drugs.
By Scott Hardy
Many doctors have raised concerns about Pradaxa's tendency to lead to uncontrollable internal bleeding or hemorrhage. Uncontrollable internal bleeding and hemorrhage as a side effect of Pradaxa (dabigatran) has led to lawsuits and 542 deaths in 2011. Now doctors are discussing blood thinner and anti-coagulant treatments that are currently used or expected to be released to the public within a year as alternatives to Pradaxa. If you were diagnosed with internal bleeding or hemorrhage after taking or while on Pradaxa, you or a family member should contact a Pradaxa Internal Bleeding law firm immediately.
Doctors aren't just concerned about Pradaxa's severe internal bleeding side effect. Coumadin (warfarin) continues to be broadly prescribed as a blood thinner but can lead to brain hemorrhage or severe internal bleeding. The big difference in treating internal bleeding for Pradaxa patients compared to Coumadin patients is that doctors can stop the effects of Coumadin relatively easily by flushing the patient's system with Vitamin K. Vitamin K counteracts the effect of Coumadin (warfarin) and allows the blood to clot regularly again which helps stop internal bleeding or hemorrhage. Pradaxa can't be stopped so easily. To stop the effects of Pradaxa a patient must be placed on dialysis so the drug is flushed from at least 60% of their system. This can take 2 - 3 hours and during that time the patient could experiencing massive blood loss which results in multiple blood transfusions and sometimes death.
Dr. Alan Jacobson, of the Veterans Administrator (VA) healthcare system in Loma Linda, CA states in reference to Pradaxa and Xarelto that "The good news is you now have an alternative to warfarin, the bad news is you can kill a patient as easily with the new drug as you could with the old drug" if the prescribing physician doesn't handle the risks and prescription appropriately. Xarelto and Pradaxa were released to help avoid the side effects of Coumadin which includes brain hemorrhage and other problems related to bleeding. In addition, patients on Coumadin typically have to change their diets and make other changes to their lifestyle. Xarelto was just released in November of 2011 so doctors aren't as familiar with the anti-coagulant drug as they are with Coumadin or even Pradaxa (which has been out less than two years itself.)
Coumadin still leads the pack with 33,000,000 prescriptions written for warfarin in 2011 compared to just 2,200,000 prescriptions for Pradaxa. The uninsured typically take warfarin as it's available in generic form and only costs about $200 per year compared to Xarelto and Pradaxa which cost about $3,000 per year. The cost, along with the decades warfarin has been available, has a large impact on the number of prescriptions written for each blood thinner or anti-coagulant drug. Xarelto is still a ways behind with only 130,000 prescriptions written for it in the first quarter of 2012.
"I have received a dozen phone calls from colleagues in the last couple of months about bleeding on Pradaxa and have yet to find a single case where that bleeding was not related to improper use of the drug," stated Dr. Sanjay Kaul, a respected cardiologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA. The reason behind the improper usage is that many doctors didn't test their patients kidney function before prescribing Pradaxa says Kaul. If the patients kidneys are suffering and not functioning correctly unsafe levels of Pradaxa can build up in the patients bloodstream which can lead ton hemorrhage or uncontrollable internal bleeding.
Dr. Kaul stated "What really compounds the matter is the lack of a specific antidote to reverse life-threatening bleeding" from Pradaxa. Dr. Kaul said he has only written one prescription for Pradaxa and none for Xarelto. Boehringer Ingelheim has stated they're working on an antidote to help stop the uncontrollable internal bleeding and hemorrhage allegedly due to Pradaxa but has not provided any details or a timeline for its release. The purported Pradaxa antidote could save hundreds, if not thousands, of lives once released.
The latest drug set to be released is Eliquis. Eliquis is flushed from the body by the liver so it may be a better fit for older patients or those with kidney problems compared to Pradaxa and Xarelto. Eliquis is currently being reviewed by the FDA and a ruling is expected by June 28th, 2012. The director of the Center for Gerontology at Brown University, Dr. Richard Besdine, said that he has only switched two of one hundred elderly patients from warfarin to Pradax or Xarelto. Dr. Besdine said "If there's an adverse event lurking in the closet for a new drug, it's most likely to come out in patients that are old and frail and taking multiple medications. They're the canary in the coal mine."
Pradaxa users have filed lawsuits alleging that Pradaxa has severe undisclosed side effects which have killed users of the anticoagulant medication. Pradaxa internal bleeding, wrongful death, or hemorrhage lawsuits typically allege that Boehringer Ingelheim did not adequately inform patients and their prescribing doctors of the risks of uncontrollable internal bleeding and hemorrhage associated with Pradaxa usage, nor did Boehringer Ingelheim warn or otherwise advise on how to intervene and stabilize a Pradaxa patient should a bleed occur after an accident or during surgery.
Even with the risk of death, followed up by a Pradaxa wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family, many of those deemed eligible to take Pradaxa or Xarelto are opting to do so over warfarin. A Duke University cardiologist, Dr. Robert Califf, stated that warfarin is still one of the biggest causes of U.S. emergency room deaths. Dr Califf said "We shouldn't lose sight of what warfarin is like in the real world."
Whatever drug is chosen as a blood thinner or anticoagulant it's important that patients know the symptoms of internal bleeding. Common internal bleeding symptoms include pink or brown urine, red or black stools, bruises that happen without a known cause and may get larger, coughing up blood or blood clots and/or vomiting blood or vomit which includes particles that look like coffee grounds. If you or a family member are taking, or were taking Pradaxa, Xarelto, Eliquis or a blood thinner or anticoagulant medication, and experienced internal bleeding or hemorrhage you may be able to file a lawsuit to help you pay for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, and recovery. Only a qualified Pradaxa hemorrhage or internal bleeding lawsuit lawyer can determine if you have a case. In addition, the spouse of a Pradaxa victim of internal bleeding or hemorrhage may be able to join the lawsuit as a co-plaintiff and sue for "loss of consortium."
If you would like more information about filing a Pradaxa internal bleeding class action lawsuit, would like to speak with experienced Pradaxa lawyers who are actively filing internal bleeding cases, or would like to file a Pradaxa hemorrhage personal injury lawsuit just go to the Pradaxa Internal Bleeding Class Action Lawsuit Investigation page. Pradaxa attorneys are actively investigating all claims regarding internal bleeding, wrongful death, hemorrhage and other problems which may have been caused by Pradaxa (dabigatran), warfarin (coumadin), blood thinner or other anti-coagulant medications. Remember, the Pradaxa lawyers who work with Top Class Actions will tell you if you have a case for free. There's never any charge for an initial consultation with an attorney filing Pradaxa lawsuit you find through Top Class Actions. They don't get paid unless you do.
Updated June 15th, 2012
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