Excessive Bleeding – the Common Severe Effect of Anticoagulant Drugs

Blood clots are necessary to prevent excessive blood loss whenever blood vessels get damaged or cut. Solidifying or coagulating the blood around the area of a damaged vessel is made possible by platelets, one of the major components of our blood. However, if a clot forms inside a blood vessel, this can either block the blood from flowing to the different parts of the body or get stuck in an artery and, there, directly stop the supply of blood to a vital organ, such as the brain or the lung, and cause severe organ damage, or a heart attack or stroke which can be fatal.

To prevent blood clots from forming doctors prescribe anticoagulant drugs, which will thin the blood. Anticoagulants or blood thinners are usually prescribed for those suffering from a condition called atrial fibrillation (or irregular heartbeat), deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism, or those who have just had an artificial heart valve or orthopedic surgery.

For the past 60 years, since 1954, Warfarin had been the standard blood thinning drug recommended by doctors to patients. Warfarin, however, requires a strict diet, exercise and a regular blood test, called prothrombin time test (PT), which would measure its user’s international normalized ratio (INR) to see how fast the blood clots.

In July 2011 the US Food and Drug Administration or FDA approved the use of the anticoagulant drug Xarelto for the same purposes mentioned above as well as to minimize the formation (and the recurrence) of blood clots and the risk of stroke in patients after a knee or hip replacement surgery.

Bayer Health Care and Janssen Pharmaceuticals (a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson), the producers of Xarelto, actually intended the drug as an alternative to Warfarin and to compete against Pradaxa, which was approved by the FDA in 2010. Because Xarelto provided more benefits than Pradaxa and did not require any of the conditions of Warfarin, it immediately gained the approval of doctors (in the US and in many other countries).

Anticoagulant drugs, though, had one common severe side-effect – excessive bleeding, an on this, Xarelto was no exception. In fact, the bleeding that Xarelto caused was proven even more serious than Pradaxa and, worse, its manufacturers offered no antidote against it.

Despite the 2081 serious adverse events (151 of which were fatal) reported to the FDA in 2012 and the increasing number of lawsuits filed by victims, who have suffered uncontrolled bleeding, Xarelto remains to be the current number one anti-coagulant drug in the US. Many doctors still prescribe this blood thinner to unknowing patients, who suddenly get faced with a severe or fatal health condition.

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