A woman from Florida filed a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson (J&J) subsidiary, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, alleging its blockbuster anticoagulant Xarelto caused her husband’s death.
The husband suffered from a condition called Atrial Fibrillation (AFib), which is an irregular heartbeat. Patients with AFib are at an increased risk of suffering from a stroke, so to manage his risk the Florida man began taking Xarelto. Unfortunately, the Florida man experienced an adverse bleeding event. He began internally bleeding in the head between the brain and its outermost covering, called a subdural hemorrhage.
Sadly, the Florida couple discovered too late that Xarelto has one fatal flaw – it does not have an antidote. Doctors were unable to stop the bleeding, and the man succumbed to his injuries. The Florida woman is outraged because she feels they were never adequately warned of the bleeding risks associated with Xarelto. The Florida couple is not alone. More than 7,000 Xarelto lawsuits alleging similar claims are currently pending against the company.
When Xarelto was first released onto the market, it was touted as a superior alternative to more traditional blood thinning medications because it did not require routine blood monitoring or special dietary requirements. Because Xarelto was a more convenient choice, many patients made the switch; what they gained in convenience, they lost in safety.
Administering high doses of Vitamin K can reverse traditional blood thinners like Warfarin. In the event of internal bleeding or bleeding caused by an accident, doctors can effectively stop the bleeding in patients taking Warfarin. Xarelto patients are not as fortunate as there is currently no consistent way to reverse the effects of Xarelto. The only antidote made was recently rejected by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Plaintiffs like the Florida woman will have to wait just a little longer for their day in court with the drug manufacturer. Bellwether trials are scheduled to begin in early 2017.