WASHINGTON D.C. — There have been many well-publicized studies and cases linking the use of the blood thinner Xarelto with an increased risk of uncontrolled bleeding. However, a recent study by Johns Hopkins and George Washington University, which was published in the British Medical Journal, also shows a much higher risk of Xarelto patients experiencing serious gastrointestinal bleeding when compared with patients taking other forms of blood thinning medications. For example, the study suggests that Xarelto users are twice as likely to suffer from gastrointestinal bleeding when compared with warfarin users.

This study, which surveyed nearly 50,000 patients, reviewed the effects of the three major blood thinners currently on the market, Xarelto, Pradaxa and warfarin, and ultimately showed that Xarelto patients experienced higher rates of gastrointestinal bleeding than warfarin patients. The serious health risks are not entirely new; the anticoagulant has long been linked to cases where patients have unfortunately bled out from not being able to counteract the drug’s effects. Unlike other blood thinners, such as warfarin, there is no FDA-approved antidote for Xarelto’s potentially fatal effects. There is a proposed antidote that is currently undergoing testing in order to get FDA approval, but, until it is has gained approval, patients who begin to bleed out can only wait for the drug to wear off, which can take hours and can even be deadly in instances. Despite these known and highly publicized risks, Xarelto is still prescribed because it is easier to administer than other blood thinners and requires fewer tests and doctor’s visits.

Many patients who have suffered from the unfortunate health risks of Xarelto have brought lawsuits against the makers, Bayer Pharma AG, Johnson & Johnson and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, alleging that the companies were aware of the serious, potential side effects of Xarelto but fraudulently and negligently marketed the anticoagulant by playing up the benefits of the ease with which it can be prescribed and administered. The lawsuits also allege that the drug’s manufacturers downplayed the risks while promoting Xarelto.

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