Blood thinner Pradaxa caused uncontrolled bleeding and death in thousands of patients. In 2014, pharmeceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim settled 4,000 lawsuits for $650 million, but more people may have been harmed. Here’s what you need to know about the potentially dangerous drug Pradaxa.
Why Do Doctors Prescribe Pradaxa?
When people experience complications related to a medication, it’s reasonable to ask why doctors would continue to prescribe what might be a dangerous drug. Yet doctors have been prescribing Pradaxa since the FDA approved it in 2010.
Pradaxa is an anticoagulant medication. For people who don’t have heart valve issues, doctors prescribe it to treat atrial fibrillation. It’s a blood thinner, so it helps keep clots from forming to reduce the risk of stroke.
Before the FDA approved Pradaxa, the most frequently prescribed alternative was Warfarin (Coumadin is the generic). Warfarin worked for most people, but it had some problems. Patients had to monitor levels through blood testing and watch their diet so food didn’t counteract the medication’s effectiveness.
With Pradaxa, none of that was necessary. Physicians received the green light to prescribe it for patients. Advertisers emphasized that Pradaxa was a safer alternative to Warfarin. For thousands of Americans, the medication was potentially deadly.
After a while, they noticed Pradaxa was causing more issues of unexpected bleeding than they originally expected. Within a few months of Pradaxa’s approval, 120 people died as a result of complications.
Internal Bleeding Caused By Pradaxa
Most of the major complications and fatalities linked to Pradaxa happened because of internal bleeding. Patients suffered bleeding in the brain, gastrointestinal system, kidneys and other systems.
When patients started to show signs of internal bleeding, for years there was no antidote. Doctors sent patients to dialysis to attempt to remove Pradaxa from their system, but there was no way to stop the internal bleeding already in progress. In late 2015 Boehringer Ingelheim released Praxbind, the antidote to internal bleeding caused by Pradaxa.
Signs of Internal Bleeding From Pradaxa
If you’re taking Pradaxa, talk to your doctor right away if you notice any of these symptoms:
- Swollen, painful joints
- Unusual or unexpected bruising
- Blood in your urine or stool
- Coughing that produces blood
- Abnormal bleeding from any part of your body
- Weakness or fainting
Heart Attack From Pradaxa
Internal bleeding wasn’t the only risk from Pradaxa. Researchers from Cleveland Clinic conducted seven clinical trials studying 30,514 patients and found patients taking the anti-coagulant had a 33 percent higher risk of heart attack. They were also more likely to experience severe heart disease symptoms than patients taking Warfarin. There was consistent risk across studies and types of patients.
Pradaxa Complication Lawsuits
Boehringer Ingleheim Pharmaceuticals paid millions of dollars to settle thousands of lawsuits when people experienced side-effects. Individuals and families suffered health problems and fatalities because of the company’s negligence.
The thing is, the pharmaceutical company made more than a billion in sales revenue just in the first two years after Pradaxa’s approval. They marketed it as a better, safer alternative. One of its selling points was patients didn’t need monitoring. Patients didn’t know the risks.
If you or a family member experienced Pradaxa complications, you can still file a lawsuit. Compensation can’t begin to take away the pain and grief from what you experienced, but victims and their families still deserve to receive compensation.
Our Pradaxa injury attorneys can help you pursue compensation for your injuries. Get in touch today for your free consultation and no-obligation case evaluation.