Atrial fibrillation or AF, affects over 2 million Americans, and is the cause of chest pains, heart failure, and stroke due to blood clots. To prevent blood clots, physicians often recommend blood thinners. Two types of blood thinners include antiplatelet drugs such as aspirin, and anticoagulants such as Pradaxa, Xarelto, or Eliquis.
Pradaxa is a blood thinner medication originally released by German manufacturer, Boehringer Ingelheim after being approved in October of 2010. Also known as an anticoagulant, Pradaxa was one of Warfarin’s first major competitors as a blood-thinning medicine. By August 2012, over 3.7 million patients in the U.S. had filled prescriptions for Pradaxa. Boehringer Ingelheim spent a whopping $464 million to market the medication and it paid off. In the first quarter of 2012, just over a year after its release, Pradaxa reached $209 million in sales worldwide. The entire market for anticoagulants receives an estimated $10 billion per year in the United States alone.
What is Pradaxa Used to Treat?
Pradaxa is often prescribed to prevent strokes and other complications due to blood clots. The drug is recommended for treating patients who do not suffer from heart disease but are at risk for blood clots and stroke. When compared directly to Warfarin, a major competitor, Pradaxa reduced the risk of stroke more effectively than its counterpart. It is also easier to administer as Pradaxa does not have the strict requirements associated with Warfarin. Though it is more expensive, Pradaxa has all of the side effects Warfarin has.
However, Pradaxa was released into the market without having a viable antidote available that could thicken the blood and prevent patients from bleeding uncontrollably. Whereas side effects of uncontrollable bleeding from Warfarin, the decades-old anticoagulant that Pradaxa was meant to replace, could be reversed with intravenous Vitamin K and fresh frozen plasma. Also, Boehringer Ingelheim failed to place conspicuous warnings on Pradaxa about the lack of a reversal agent. As such, many patients and physicians were not aware of this fact and many patients suffered severe consequences as a result of taking Pradaxa.
Since its introduction, Pradaxa has been named as the primary suspect in thousands of reports about patient deaths since it was introduced into the market as a new generation of oral anticoagulants. As such, the ability to reverse Pradaxa’s side effects became a matter of life or death. It was not until October of 2015, that Boehringer Ingelheim released an antidote with the brand name of Praxbind and the generic name of idarucizumab, which is a reversal agent to stop Pradaxa excessive bleeding.
What are the Side Effects of Taking Pradaxa?
Pradaxa side effects can range from mild to life-threatening. Common side effects of Pradaxa include:
- Stomach pain
However, the other risks associated with Pradaxa cannot be taken lightly. Serious side effects of Pradaxa include uncontrollable bleeding, liver failure, heart attack, or even death. Among the severe Pradaxa side effects, uncontrolled bleeding was the most frequently reported. This uncontrolled internal bleeding can be life-threatening and cause problems in the brain and central nervous system that are just as detrimental as a stroke, the entire purpose of taking the Pradaxa medication. If you experience signs of internal bleeding, you may want to consult your doctor immediately.
Signs of Internal Bleeding
If you have taken Pradaxa, Xarelto, Eliquis, or any other drug in the class of blood thinners you may be at risk of internal bleeding. Observing the symptoms as early as possible could save your life. Take a look at these signs of internal bleeding:
- Pain in the Abdomen – If you have pain or tenderness anywhere between the chest and groin, it may be a sign of internal bleeding.
- Vomiting Blood – Regurgitating food accompanied with blood stains could be one of the symptoms of internal bleeding. The blood is usually mixed with food but sometimes it could just contain blood.
- Blood in the Stool – Blood in the stool is usually a sign of bleeding in the digestive system. Sometimes tomatoes and beets can cause the stool to appear a reddish color, and sometimes blood in stool can make it look darker, almost black in color due to an upper bleeding position. Therefore, a stool test performed by a doctor will be able to confirm if there is blood in the stool or not.
- Blood in Urine – Bloody urine is another symptom of internal hemorrhage. Hematuria is the medical diagnosis for blood in the urine and it is often caused by kidney problems, urinary tract infections, injury to the bladder, bladder cancer, or kidney failure.
- Coughing Blood – Coughing blood may mean respiratory system problems. This condition is called Hemoptysis and is often a combination of mucus stained with blood and sometimes consists of air from the lungs causing bubbles in the substance.
- Vaginal Bleeding – Heavy, prolonged, and irregular menstrual periods could be another sign of internal bleeding.
- Shock – Shock could mean an increased heartbeat, sweaty skin, low blood pressure, and declining mental functions. Shock is often a result of blood loss in the circulatory system.
- Compartment Syndrome – Sometimes, internal bleeding may cause an increase in pressure to muscles, leading to what is called compartment syndrome.
- Pain in the Joints – If pressure exerts on blood vessels, it often causes joint pain which may cause internal bleeding. Some patients who suffer from joint pain find the ache to be chronic, unbearable, and unmanageable. This type of internal bleeding has been linked to patients who use an anticoagulant such as Pradaxa, Xarelto, or Eliquis.
- Bleeding in the Head – Symptoms such as headaches, vision problems, general body weakness, confusion, or slurred speech may signify internal bleeding in the head. If you suffer from any of these signs frequently, you may want to consult a doctor to be tested for internal hemorrhage.
If you are experiencing any of these side effects, you should contact your physician or go to an emergency room immediately. Remember to not discontinue any medication on your own without first consulting with a medical care provider to make sure it is safe to do so.
After experiencing the life-threatening side effects of Pradaxa, many victims and families of victims who suffered wrongful death are coming forward to file a Pradaxa lawsuit against its manufacturer Boehringer Ingelheim. Claims for the Pradaxa lawsuit include patients taking the drug immediately after its release in 2010 all of the way to present day. Thousands of Pradaxa users have suffered through its severe side effects and hundreds of victims did not make it.
If you or a loved one has suffered from the severe side effects of Pradaxa, you need an experienced pradaxa lawsuit lawyer such as The People’s Lawyer on your side. What Boehringer Ingelheim did was wrong and you may deserve reparations for them putting your life in danger. Contact Brindisi, Murad, Brindisi & Pearlman for a complimentary Pradaxa lawsuit consultation today, personal injury lawyers ready to fight for you and your rights today.
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