Xarelto and Internal Bleeding
Xarelto is an anticoagulant medication created to replace warfarin and help patients better manage their blood clotting risk. Within a short time of its approval, there were hundreds of cases of severe side effects reported to the FDA. The drug’s maker, Johnson & Johnson, faces more than 15,000 lawsuits. The company had reportedly spent nearly $30 million in 2015 to pay doctors to prescribe Xarelto to patients.
Legal experts believe the trial set to begin in March in Louisiana will act as a bellwether, meaning its outcome will set the tone for future trials and could determine whether Johnson & Johnsons chooses to settle out of court or allow a jury to decide the outcomes of these cases.
Why File a Xarelto Lawsuit?
Xarelto is one of the newest anticoagulant medications on the market. Approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2011, the blood thinner is manufactured by Bayer and marketed by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, which is a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. Previous blood thinners required physicians to prescribe specific doses, but with Xarelto, patients are instructed to take one uniform dose. Unfortunately, while this uniformity makes taking the drug much easier, it also increases the risk of internal bleeding. Depending on age, weight, current use of other medications, and existing medical conditions, two different patients can respond very differently to the same dosage of Xarelto.
Many blood thinners are dangerous, but Xarelto is one of the most worrisome. The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) has highlighted Xarelto as a high-alert medication, indicating that it is more likely than other drugs to harm patients if used incorrectly. ISMP has also noted the danger of marketing the drug’s ease of use, particularly if sufficient steps are not taken to reduce bleeding risk.
Specific reasons for filing Xarelto lawsuits may differ substantially from one victim to the next. Many seek compensatory damages to assist with the devastating burden of medical bills and loss of wages. Others focus on serving justice by holding Bayer and Janssen Pharmaceuticals accountable. The following are a few of the primary reasons victims and their loved ones file Xarelto lawsuits:
Medical Bills and Lost Wages
Victims who survive the internal bleeding caused by Xarelto often file lawsuits in hopes of obtaining compensation for their physical suffering. Hospital visits, rehabilitative care, and other medical expenses can be covered via a Xarelto lawsuit or settlement. Remuneration for lost wages is also possible, providing relief for those unable to work due to suffering side effects or caring for those impacted by the medication.
In wrongful death cases involving Xarelto and internal bleeding, the victim’s loved ones may be able to obtain compensation for burial and other funeral expenses. Additionally, it is possible to be awarded remuneration for the emotional suffering caused by caring for or losing a loved one.
Many Xarelto victims highlight compensation for physical and emotional damages as their chief reason for pursuing legal action. Some, however, focus more on achieving punitive damages, through which they can hold Bayer and Janssen Pharmaceuticals accountable.
Prevention of Future Injuries
Many patients either underestimate the risks associated with Xarelto or are completely unaware that internal bleeding could accompany the use of this dangerous medication. If physicians, pharmacists and drug manufacturers fail to draw sufficient attention to the risks associated with Xarelto, it is up to those who have suffered to get the word out. One of the most effective means of accomplishing this end is pursuing legal action. By exercising their voices via the legal system, victims can help to ensure that others do not suffer in the future.
Xarelto is rarely the initial cause for internal bleeding; rather, the drug is responsible for the body’s poor response to and inability to stop internal bleeding that occurs due to outside injuries or illnesses.
Xarelto-induced injuries often involve the upper and lower gastrointestinal tracts, although brain hemorrhaging can also occur. Patients prescribed Xarelto may suffer extended internal bleeding in response to a variety of gastrointestinal illnesses and injuries, including ulcer bleeding, esophageal erosion, anal fissures, broken blood vessels, and Crohn’s disease. Normal blood clotting would quickly curtail this internal bleeding, but when Xarelto is prescribed, it can be virtually impossible to achieve sufficient clotting. Alternative blood thinners such as warfarin can be countered with an antidote if internal bleeding occurs, but there is currently no effective antidote available for Xarelto.
Although the internal bleeding associated with Xarelto can target patients of all ages and levels of health, it is particularly common among older patients. The FDA contends that the higher risk of internal bleeding among older users is countered by the increased potential for stroke prevention at this age. However, many senior patients fail to recognize the full extent of the risk for internal bleeding, in part because marketing materials focus on ease of use and not on potential risks. Younger patients, although less likely to suffer internal bleeding, may experience severe blood clots following hip or knee replacement surgery.
In addition to internal bleeding, those prescribed Xarelto may suffer spinal or epidural blood clots, which may lead to paralysis or even death. Other side effects include wound leakage and infection.
Examples of Blood Thinner Lawsuits
Since it was approved by the FDA in 2011, Xarelto has been the subject of several lawsuits. Highlighted below are just a few of the many cases that have recently attracted attention:
Packard v. Janssen
In 2011, Florida resident Nancy Packard filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of William Packard, who is believed to have not been alerted to the potential for irreversible internal bleeding. Packard suffered a subdural hemorrhage just months after being prescribed Xarelto for atrial fibrillation.
McGowan v Janssen
In 2014, a grieving daughter filed a lawsuit on behalf of her deceased father, Thomas Dunkley. She claimed that, just a month after being prescribed Xarelto (which was intended to prevent stroke), he suffered severe bleeding. Dunkley’s daughter believes that Bayer failed to properly test the drug or notify patients of its devastating side effects.
Bellweather Discovery Pool
Due to the sheer volume of recent Xarelto lawsuits, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has approved a consolidated case to a court located in the Eastern District of Louisiana. Judge Eldon E. Fallon is overseeing these proceedings, and she has already confirmed forty cases selected for use in a special discovery pool. Set to begin in early 2017, these cases will help to determine how juries may respond to evidence that could be presented dozens of times.
Why You Need a Xarelto Attorney
Whether you or a loved one has suffered due to Xarelto-induced internal bleeding, epidural blood clots, or wound infection, it is important to seek counsel from a trusted attorney. The right lawyer can determine whether your case is strong enough to proceed with a lawsuit. From there, your lawyer can gather the evidence needed to prove that the injury was not caused by medical malpractice, but rather, product liability.
By turning to the legal system, it is possible to secure much-needed compensatory damages while also holding Bayer and Janssen accountable for manufacturing and marketing a dangerous blood thinner. If a loved one has died due to Xarelto, you can honor his or her memory by ensuring that others do not suffer in the future.