Xarelto Internal Bleeding
Rivaroxaban, a medication known more commonly by its brand name of Xarelto, is one of the newest drugs on the market for use as a highly effective blood thinner. Like all medications of its type, Xarelto does carry with it a risk of internal bleeding as a side effect – at times the amount of internal bleeding Xarelto causes can even become life-threatening.
The Pros and Cons of Xarelto
While on Xarelto, internal bleeding can occur that’s severe enough to be a danger to a patient’s life; this isn’t necessarily something that’s inherently dangerous. Many older blood thinners such as warfarin also carry a side effect of bleeding – sometimes severe bleeding – yet doctors do still prescribe both drugs, as well as other blood thinners such as Pradaxa. Additionally, Xarelto offers an advantage over warfarin in that patients taking the newer drug don’t need to have their blood tested regularly in order to ensure their dosage levels are adequate – a serious relief for patients that tire from getting stuck with needles.
However, there is one extreme disadvantage to being prescribed Xarelto as a blood thinner – the lack of any antidote. Unlike warfarin, which can have its blood-thinning properties halted in its tracks by administering a strong dose of Vitamin K, there is no way to stop Xarelto besides simply waiting for the medication to be flushed from a patient’s system. This can take as long as 24 hours, which means patients suffering from severe Xarelto-induced bleeds are likely to need constant medical attention in the form of an emergency room visit or even a hospital admission.
The Story Behind the Drug
Like nearly all blood thinners, Xarelto was developed in order to provide a way to reduce the possibility of the kinds of blood clots that can form in the human circulatory system that could lead to strokes or other types of cardiovascular disease like pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis. Xarelto is also used to reduce the possibility of blood clots developing in patients undergoing knee or hip replacements. Manufactured by Bayer, the drug is distributed in the United States by a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson known as Janssen Pharmaceuticals.
Xarelto functions in a much different capacity than other blood thinners available on the market. The drug actively blocks the activity of certain enzymes that are needed to produce thrombin, an organic molecular compound that plays a primary role in forming blood clots. Xarelto was approved in 2011 by the US Food and Drug Administration for certain blood thinning applications; the drug was awarded broader approval the following year, opening up the possibility for Xarelto to be prescribed for a wide variety of cardiovascular conditions. Meanwhile, just a few years after its use a pattern of problems began to emerge with patients being prescribed Xarelto; in the first quarter of 2013, the FDA received reports of almost 700 adverse events associated with the drug. This was considerably more than were linked to Pradaxa, a rival anticoagulant drug that shares many similarities to Xarelto. Pradaxa has been criticized by doctors and patients for high instances of irreversible internal bleeding in its own right; the drug also has no known antidote, in much the same way that there is no way to halt the function of Xarelto prematurely. While Boehringer Ingelheim, the manufacturers of Pradaxa, have already paid in excess of $650 million in settlements for medical emergencies caused by their drug, Bayer maintains that their own drug is safe and that Xarelto internal bleeding cases have not risen to the level that is a cause for concern.