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According to allegations raised in a new wrongful death lawsuit, the side effects of Xarelto caused an aortic aneurysm that ultimately took the life of a Virginia man.
The complaint (PDF) was filed by Jeraelyn B. Jude in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana on March 20, following the death of Earnest W. Jude in January 2016.
Johnson & Johnson, it’s Janssen subsidiary, and Bayer Healthcare are named as defendants, indicating that the drug makers failed to adequately warn users and the medical community about the link between Xarelto and aortic aneurysm injuries, as well as other bleeding risks associated with the controversial anticoagulant.
According to the lawsuit, Ernest Jude took Xarelto for just a week before suffering an aortic aneurysm on January 9, 2016. As a result of the injury, he died on January 13, which the lawsuit indicates was the direct result of his use of Xarelto.
“The use of Xarelto without appropriate blood monitoring, dose adjustment and twice a day dosing can cause major, life-threatening bleeding events,” the complaint states. “Physicians using Xarelto have to be able to balance the dose so that the blood is thinned enough to reduce the risk of stroke, but not thinned so much as to increase the risk for a major bleeding event.”
There are currently more than 15,000 Xarelto lawsuits pending throughout the federal court system, which each raise similar allegations, indicating that the manufacturers withheld important information and warnings about the potential bleeding side effects of Xarelto, as well as the lack of an effective antidote that would have allowed doctors to reverse the blood thinning effects of the medication.
The cases are centralized before U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon in the Eastern District of Louisiana as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation. While most of the lawsuits deal with bleeding events allegedly cause by Xarelto, the latest case focuses on an aortic aneurysm injury.
Aortic aneurysm is a painful and potentially serious condition involving a bulge in the aorta, where the walls of the artery have weakened. They can cause severe chest pain, as well as carry the risk of rupturing. Aortic aneurysms pose a serious health risk and usually require invasive surgery to treat.
Xarelto Bleeding Problems
Xarelto (rivaroxoaban) is a new-generation anticoagulant that was introduced in 2011, as an alternative to Coumadin (warfarin), which has been the go-to anticoagulant treatment for decades.
The drug is part of a new class of medications, which have been promoted as easier to use than warfarin. However, since the drugs have hit the market, there have been a large number of reports involving severe and sometimes fatal bleeding problems with Xarelto and other members of this new class, including Pradaxa and Eliquis.
While all blood thinners may cause bleeding, the side effects of warfarin can be quickly reversed with a widely known antidote. However, there was no Xarelto reversal agent when the drug was introduced. Former users who are now pursuing lawsuits allege that the drug makers failed to adequately warn doctors about the lack of an antidote, which led to severe and uncontrollable bleeds.
Similar claims were raised in the litigation over Pradaxa, which was the first member of this class introduced in October 2010, one year before Xarelto hit the market. About 4,000 Pradaxa lawsuits were ultimately filed by users of that drug who suffered bleeding injuries. Following several years of litigation, the manufacturer of that medication ultimately agreed to pay $650 million in Pradaxa settlements just before the first bellwether trials were set to begin, with an average of about $150,000 per claim.
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.
In recent months, there have also been an increasing number of Eliquis lawsuits filed over this newer member of the class, once again raising similar allegations that the drug maker failed to warn about the bleeding risk. Last week, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) heard oral arguments over whether to consolidate and centralize the federal Eliquis bleeding cases before one judge as part of a separate MDL.