Warfarin, Eliquis Death and Bleeding Risks Increase With The Number of Other Drugs Taken: Study

New research suggests that individuals combining either the novel oral anticoagulant Eliquis, or the older blood thinner warfarin, with other drugs may face a higher risk of embolism, bleeding events, stroke and death. 

In a study published earlier this month in the medical journal The BMJ, researchers from the Duke University found that the /a>side effects of Eliquis and warfarin were similar when it came to the risks of adverse events associated with concurrent use of other drugs. However, both anticoagulants were more likely to be linked with serious side effects.

Eliquis is a member of a new class of blood thinners known as novel oral anticoagulants, which also includes the blockbuster treatments Xarelto and Pradaxa. These drugs were introduced as a replacement for warfarin, also known by the brand name Coumadin, which has been the go-to anticoagulant treatment decades for the prevention of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation and other blood thinner uses.

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Since they have hit the market, Eliquis and other novel oral anticoagulants have come under scrutiny because they were released without reversal agents that could quickly stop bleeding events. While warfarin’s blood thinning effects can be reversed quickly by vitamin K, there was no antidote available for the new drugs, which caused many users to suffer severe and often life-threatening bleeding problems when doctors unable to stop bleeds.

In this latest study, researchers looked at data on 18,201 patients who used either Eliquis (apixaban) or warfarin over a period of about two years. The findings indicate that when users took both Eliquis or warfarin in combination with other drugs, they faced an increased risk of mortality, major bleeding, stroke or systemic embolism.

Despite claims that the new drugs are superior, researchers found the safety of the drugs were about the same when used with other medications, and they indicated that Eliquis was only slightly more effective as an anticoagulant.

Eliquis, Xarelto and Pradaxa Blood Thinner Concerns

Known as a factor xa medications, Xarelto, Pradaxa and Eliquis have been aggressively marketed over the past few years. However, as more people experience severe bleeding problems, concerns about the safety of the drugs has emerged.

Thousands of adverse event reports have been filed with federal regulators involving severe and uncontrollable bleeding problems with Xarelto, Pradaxa and Eliquis.

Last year, a reversal agent for Pradaxa, Praxbind, was approved by the FDA, which will make the medication substantially safer. In addition, another reversal agent for Xarelto and Eliquis is under consideration for approval.

Since 2012, more than 4,000 lawsuits have been filed against Boehinger Ingelheim over bleeding problems with Pradaxa. Following several years of litigation, the manufacturer of that medication ultimately agreed to pay $650 million in Pradaxa settlements, with an average of about $150,000 per claim.

Johnson & Johnson and Bayer now face more than 4,500 Xarelto lawsuits, which raise nearly identical allegations.

Since December 2014, the cases have been centralized before U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon in the Eastern District of Louisiana for coordinated pretrial proceedings, given the similar questions of fact and law. As Xarelto bleeding lawyers continue to review potential cases for individuals prescribed the anticoagulant throughout the United States, the number of complaints has surpassed the number of claims involved in the Pradaxa litigation, as the drug has become more widely used in recent years.


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