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Blood Thinner Pradaxa Linked to 1,400 Deaths

The drug Pradaxa was the first in a new class of anticoagulant drugs called thrombin inhibitors. Pradaxa was an immediate hit with atrial fibrillation patients as an alternative to the high-maintenance Warfarin. The industry standard of anticoagulant treatments up until recently, warfarin requires constant blood monitoring to check for hemorrhaging. However, this new class of thrombin inhibitors claimed to have less side-effects and no need for blood monitoring. This claim was met with great enthusiasm by patients and physicians alike, to the tune of $1 billion in annual sales. Unfortunately, in all of the excitement, some major details got overlooked. Contact a Boston Injury Lawyer.

Pradaxa Manufacturer Settles $650 Million Lawsuit

All anticoagulants come with a risk of increased bleeding. It’s what can be done once the hemorrhaging begins that determines the safety of the drug. With Warfarin, despite the inconvenience of constant blood monitoring and the very increased risk of hemorrhaging, there is an approved reversal agent (antidote) if hemorrhaging does occur. Physicians can administer a dose of vitamin K and fresh frozen plasma to quickly halt the bleeding. Unfortunately, no such antidote exists with Pradaxa or any thrombin inhibitor currently on the market. Boehringer Ingelheim’s failure to warn of this very important detail is at the core of many of the 4,000 lawsuits recently settled by the manufacturer for a total of $650 million. The settlement comes out to more than $150,000  per person.

The FDA began a formal investigation into Pradaxa’s safety in 2011. This was in response to reports of 542 deaths among users of the drug, more than any other medication that year. The reports included various forms of serious internal bleeding, and heart attacks. According to a 2014 Bloomberg report, Pradaxa is linked to more than 1,400 deaths. Without an antidote to stop Pradaxa’s anti-clotting properties in an emergency, doctors have few options when a patient taking Pradaxa suddenly develops internal bleeding. The most common forms of internal bleeding among Pradaxa patients include:

  • Hemorrhaging in the brain
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Kidney bleeding
  • Other forms of internal bleeding

Despite all of this, the drug is still on the market. If you are currently taking any type of thrombin inhibitor, it may be wise to discuss the risk of hemorrhaging with your physician.

Altman & Altman, LLP – Boston’s Drug Injury Lawyers

Pradaxa is one of three newly released thrombin inhibitors. The other two are Xarelto and Eliquis. Collectively, these three drugs are responsible for more than 8,000 deaths. If you or a loved one has suffered as a result of any type of anticoagulant drug, the skilled drug injury attorneys at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. We have the compassion, experience, and tenacity to help you obtain the compensation you deserve for pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost wages. The drug companies make billions of dollars a year in profits and they should be held accountable when their negligence results in injury and death. Don’t go through this alone. We will help you determine how to move forward and will be with you every step of the way. Our lawyers have been helping accident and injury victims for nearly 50 years. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free consultation about your case.