The anti-coagulant drug Xarelto (Rivaroxiban) is known for its risk of gastrointestinal bleeding, including stomach bleeds and rectal bleeding, among other internal bleeding risks. But how does this medication measure up when compared to other blood thinner drugs and the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding?
What Causes Xarelto Gastrointestinal Bleeding?
Xarelto is a so-called new age anti-coagulant drug, in the same class as Pradaxa. It’s an Xa inhibitor which inhibits the production of thrombin in the bloodstream. Thrombin is a component of the blood which allows for clotting, so by inhibiting the production of thrombin, Xarelto reduces the risk of dangerous blood clots which are associated with strokes, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and post-surgical blood clots in patients who’ve undergone a knee or hip replacement surgery.
Blood clots are required to stop blood loss in the case of an injury or ailment that involves bleeding. Blood clots form when red blood cells clump together, forming a clot that plugs up a breach in a vascular structure like a vein.
Problems arise when a patient on Xarelto has undetected gastrointestinal bleeding or a condition that makes them prone to bleeding, such as an intestinal polyp, stomach ulcer, ulcerative colitis or defects associated with the chronic inflammation and irritation of colitis or Crohn’s disease. There are many different conditions that cause GI bleeding. Xarelto can pose a dangerous condition to patients who are suffering from one of these undiagnosed or undetected ailments, which may typically pose no serious danger. But blood thinners prevent the blood from clotting, so the bleeding continues unabated.
Xarelto gastrointestinal bleeding can lead to hospitalization, pain and suffering and in some cases, death.
How Does the Risk of Xarelto Gastrointestinal Bleeds Compare to Other Drugs?
When it comes to Xarelto gastrointestinal bleeding risk relative to other anti-coagulant drugs, the results are mixed.
One study, called the Xarelto ROCKET-AF Study, reportedly examined over 14,000 patients who were prescribed blood thinners for the prevention of blood clots and stroke due to non-valvular atrial fibrillation.
According to published reports and a presentation about the study at an October 2012 meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians, some patients were prescribed Xarelto. Others were prescribed Warfarin/Coumadin – the drug which served as the standard go-to blood thinner for many years.
The study reportedly found that the overall Xarelto gastrointestinal bleeding risk was higher than Warfarin/Coumadin. But curiously, and very notably, the Warfarin/Coumadin had a higher risk of life-threatening and fatal GI bleeding incidents.
The ROCKET-AF study also revealed that individuals who experienced Xarelto GI bleeding were more apt to have a history of gastrointestinal bleeding in the past. More males than females experienced serious GI bleeds. They were also more likely to be current or former smokers, and carry a diagnosis of mild or moderate anemia.
So when it comes to Xarelto vs Warfarin, Xarelto carried a higher risk of gastrointestinal bleeds, although the bleeds were more apt to be fatal in patients taking Warfarin.
Notably, there is no known antidote or reversal agent for Xarelto – a point of major criticism amongst opponents, lawsuit plaintiffs and critics of the blood thinner drug. Dangers of fatal bleeds are typically higher with Xarelto as a result of this fact.
Pradaxa, another new generation blood thinner, can be reversed through emergency dialysis, while the effects of Warfarin/Coumadin can be reversed via infusions of Vitamin K.
Xarelto vs Pradaxa and GI Bleeding
A study conducted from October 2010 through April 2013 evaluated the risk of GI bleeding from Xarelto vs. Pradaxa in 374 patients who were admitted at two hospitals. 227 of those patients took Pradaxa while 147 patients took Xarelto.
Overall, the researchers reported that the Xarelto gastrointestinal bleeding rate was 4.8%, while the Pradaxa gastrointestinal bleeding rate was 5.3%.
The study reportedly revealed that the risk of bleeding was significantly higher in the first 40 days of taking these blood thinner drugs. This risk was present for both Xarelto and Pradaxa, with the former bringing a bleed rate of approximately 8%.
Researchers also reported that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications and dual antiplatelet agents brought an increased risk of GI bleeding on Xarelto. This was not reported to be the case with Pradaxa.
Did You Suffer Xarelto Gastrointestinal Bleeding?
If you or a loved one experienced GI bleeding on Xarelto, you may be eligible for financial compensation.
The experienced legal team at The Meldofsky Firm is dedicated to providing a comprehensive range of legal services to clients who’ve experienced losses as a result of Xarelto. The Meldofsky Firm is passionate about helping patients and their families find legal justice and financial compensation for their losses, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, funeral expenses and beyond.
Our firm’s legal professionals are here to provide an evaluation your case in a complementary case consultation. Call The Meldofsky Firm today at (877) 274-8672.