A wrongful death lawsuit was filed in March by the family of Tennessee resident Tommy Julian whose death is being blamed on the blood thinner medication Xarelto. Tommy’s son Danny Julian claims the anticoagulant (along with makers Bayer, Janssen and Johnson & Johnson) was responsible for his father’s death. He is seeking more than $75,000 in damages. This case will join a similar lawsuit already in progress in Louisiana.
The complaint states that Tommy Julien started using Xarelto in November of 2012 in order to lower his stroke risk from non-valvular atrial fibrillation. Xarelto was approved by the FDA for non-valvular atrial fibrillation patients in November of 2011. The manufacturers advised that Xarelto, used once-a-day, would work to reduce stroke risk in these patients. Moreover, they said it would eliminate the need for the traditional blood monitoring treatment called Warfarin.
Tommy was on Xarelto for roughly four months when he began bleeding internally and the bleeding could not be stopped. He passed away two days later.
Failure to disclose side effects
In this case, the plaintiff has stated that his father would not have taken Xarelto if the defendants had fully explained the risks of taking the drug. Danny Julian says that while there were warnings on the box, they did not extend the warnings to the bleeding risks—even after drug trials showed that Xarelto caused more gastrointestinal bleeds than Warfarin. Moreover, Xarelto patients are more susceptible to needing blood transfusions.
In addition to the risk of internal bleeding with Xarelto, the Institute for Safe Medication Practices Quarter Watch indicated that Xarelto also increased the risk of blood clots, more specifically pulmonary embolisms.
The especially troublesome issue with failing to inform patients about the increased bleeding risks associated with Xarelto is that, unlike warfarin where patients who bleed can be given a shot of vitamin K, there is no antidote to excessive bleeding caused by Xarelto.
There are currently around 300 lawsuits involving Xarelto MDL processing around the country.
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