The anti-coagulant drug that is sold under the brand name Xarelto (Rivaroxiban) has a range of serious side effects, including stroke, which can be permanently debilitating or even deadly.
This particular Xarelto side effect is rather perplexing to many as the blood thinner drug is frequently prescribed to prevent stroke in patients who have been diagnosed with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (AF). But upon closer examination, the link is apparent, as strokes can arise from intracranial bleeding – one of the more well-known and potentially deadly Xarelto complications.
What is Xarelto?
Manufactured by Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Xarelto is a so-called “new generation” blood thinner drug. An Xa inhibitor, Xarelto suppresses the production of thrombin, which has a major role in the blood clotting process. Without sufficient thrombin present, the blood remains fluid and clot-free.
Xarelto is prescribed for a variety of different conditions and ailments. In addition to non-valvular atrial fibrillation, it’s also prescribed to patients who’ve just recently undergone a knee or hip replacement surgery. It’s also prescribed to individuals with a propensity for developing a condition known as deep vein thrombosis.
How are Strokes Among Xarelto Side Effects?
A stroke involves the loss of blood supply (and thus, oxygen) to the brain. The result is brain damage and in some cases, the damage is so severe that it leads to permanent disability or death.
A stroke can occur via a few different processes. A blood clot may occur spontaneously, as the result of disease or a health condition, such as a clotting disorder. If the blood clot travels to the brain or obstructs a main vascular structure leading to the brain, it may inhibit proper blood flow. Blood carries oxygen to the brain, organs and tissues so deprived of oxygenated blood, the brain cells die. When the brain cells die, this results in brain damage and when the damage is sufficiently severe, it can lead to death.
Any time the blood supply to the brain is blocked, this is called an ischemic stroke. As an anti-coagulant medication, Xarelto thins the blood and therefore, reduces the risk of an ischemic stroke by preventing the red blood cells from clumping together and forming clots.
There’s also a second type of stroke, called a hemorrhagic stroke, which arises when an artery in the brain is ruptured, allowing blood to seep into the intracranial cavity — the area between the brain tissue and the skull. The skull does not have any give, so the pressure builds in the patient’s skull and the blood compresses the brain, causing brain damage and even death.
Patients who are prescribed Xarelto are less likely to experience an ischemic stroke due to the blood thinner drug, but they’re also left more prone to hemorrhagic strokes. In the case of a hemorrhagic stroke, Xarelto side effects leave the patient very vulnerable because the drug prevents clotting. Clotting is required to stop active bleeding, as the clot blocks off the damaged area, preventing more blood from escaping. But the anti-coagulant drug prevents this process from occurring, so the bleeding can continue unchecked, leading to a fatality.
The Dangers of Xarelto Side Effects
In addition to strokes, Xarelto side effects can include uncontrolled bleeding situations that impact various areas of the body, from the brain, to the kidneys, colon, stomach, gastrointestinal bleeding and even eye bleeding.
Unlike other drugs, such as Warfarin/Coumadin — which was the preferred anti-coagulant medication for many years — Xarelto does not have an antidote or a reversal agent. For instance, infusions of Vitamin K can serve as an antidote to Warfarin/Coumadin, while bleeding on Pradaxa (another new generation blood thinner medication) can be controlled by performing emergency dialysis on the patient. This process cleanses the drug from the patient’s system.
But Xarelto lacks any such antidote or reversal agent. The only thing that can reverse the effects of Xarelto: time. This fact has drawn much criticism, especially in Xarelto lawsuits, as plaintiffs have argued that it was irresponsible and negligent to release a dangerous drug that lacks an antidote or reversal agent.
In addition to life threatening strokes, Xarelto side effects were allegedly downplayed in marketing materials – a move that has garnered significant criticism both in the media, in the courtrooms and beyond.
Xarelto has also faced criticism from U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviewers, who took issue with the drug’s apparent lack of efficacy in preventing stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation.
Strokes, Xarelto Side Effects and Lawsuits
If you or a loved one suffered a stroke on Xarelto, you could have a legal right to receive financial compensation for your pain, suffering, medical bills and lost wages, among other losses.
As of August 2015, there were over 1200 Xarelto lawsuits filed as part of a multi-district litigation (MDL) case, which is currently being overseen by Judge Eldon Fallon of the Eastern District of Louisiana.
So if you or a family member experienced a stroke from Xarelto, contact the caring and compassionate team here at The Meldofsky Firm. We’ll perform a review of your case to determine if you may qualify to for compensation.
Call The Meldofsky Firm today at 877-274-8672.