For years Warfarin was the gold standard of blood thinners. Then the pharmaceutical industry saw an opportunity to make a profit by introducing new products. The products would promise the same or improved effectiveness with less hassle. Enter Xarelto, a blood thinner and anticoagulant that promises results with less administrative complication. The problem is that Xarelto has no antidote and patients may be dying because of it.
“Pharmaceutical companies, regrettably, have shown a tendency to put their own profits ahead of patient safety,” commented Ned McWilliams, a partner with the Levin Papantonio law firm. The Levin, Papantonio law firm is leading investigations into claims of injuries resulting from Xarelto.
Part of the marketing pitch for physicians to choose Xarelto over Warfarin hinges on the lower oversight requirements supposedly carried by the drug. According to the manufacturer, patients taking Xarelto require less surveillance by a physician. The argument is that Warfarin required constant monitoring to ensure that the levels of the drug in the patient’s blood didn’t get out of control.
If the saturation did get out of control though, often the only treatment that was necessary was to give patients a dose of Vitamin K to encourage clotting. Xarelto has no antidote. The manufacturer has yet to issue instructions to physicians about how to combat the problem of uncontrolled bleeding when it presents in patients as a result of Xarelto.
That problem of uncontrollable bleeding is what has patient advocates in arms over Xarelto. The product wasn’t needed; it solved a problem that didn’t need fixing. It has no antidote. The company that makes it has yet to publish guidelines for treating some of the most serious complications for treating the deadly side effects. And the company is making millions from the drug’s continued sale in the United States.
The only thing that can be done to treat an overdose of Xarelto, at this time, is to issue fresh plasma to the patient or wait for the drug to clear the blood. When the complication a patient is suffering from is hemorrhage or internal bleeding, that lack of an antidote may prove life-threatening.