Xarelto is an oral anticoagulant – or blood thinner – designed to help prevent strokes and blood clots. Anticoagulants decrease the production of certain proteins in the blood, thereby reducing the risk of clots forming in blood streams.
Xarelto (also known by its generic name rivaroxaban) was first approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in July 2011 to help prevent or reduce the risk of blood clots in the legs (known as deep vein thrombosis or DVT) for patients undergoing hip and knee replacement operations.
In November 2011, the FDA expanded its approval of Xarelto to be used to help prevent the risk of hemorrhagic and thrombotic strokes in patients suffering from atrial fibrillation (known as an irregular heartbeat). The FDA further expanded the use of the drug in 2012 to help decrease the risk of recurrent DVT and pulmonary embolism (blood clots in the lungs) following surgery.
Blood thinners, which are usually taken orally (although occasionally intravenously), help reduce the risk of a stroke and heart attack by minimizing the likelihood of blood clots forming in veins or arteries. Doctors prescribe blood thinners for patients suffering from heart or blood-vessel disease, those with slow blood flow or those with congenital heart defects or abnormal heart rhythms.
There are two main types of blood thinners: antiplatelets and anticoagulants. Antiplatelets stop blood cells clumping together to form clots (aspirin is the most common example). Anticoagulants work by blocking the body’s production of proteins that can cause blood clots.
Xarelto, which is manufactured by pharmaceutical giant Bayer AG and marketed in the U.S. by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, has been prescribed to millions of Americans since its approval in 2011. So what is Xarelto and what does it do to your body?
The drug works by blocking an enzyme in the human body known as Factor Xa (or “10a”), which contributes to the formation of blood clots. According to Johnson & Johnson, Xarelto is the most studied Factor Xa inhibitor currently prescribed in the world today. The company claims that by 2018, about 100,000 people will have completed ongoing testing to determine Xarelto’s effectiveness and monitor the side effects of the drug.
Xarelto differs from most other blood thinners in that its manufacturer says only one dose needs to be taken daily (in most cases). It also does not require any adjustments to diet, nor do patients need to take regular blood tests.
Although Xarelto is typically prescribed as a once-a-day oral anticoagulant, in some cases doctors may prescribe twice a day. The strength of dose prescribed depends on the patient. According to the FDA, for atrial fibrillation, a 15-milligram or 20-milligram dose of Xarelto is normally prescribed, which is to be taken with the evening meal. However, a 10-milligram tablet dose of the blood thinner may be prescribed for patients who have undergone hip or knee replacements.
Are there any side effects of Xarelto?
There are both major and minor side effects associated with Xarelto. The minor Xarelto issues (which can be temporary) include:
• Feeling dizzy or faint
• Sores or ulcers in the mouth or on the lips
• Swollen feet and ankles or an itchy rash
• Upset stomach, nausea, loss of appetite or vomiting
• A sore throat
• A change in blood pressure
• Red or black stools and urine
• Tingling feeling
There is also of more serious consequences in using Xarelto, with the most commonly reported side effects stemming from uncontrollable bleeding. There is also a risk of severe internal bleeding. Both of these side effects can be fatal. Other serious Xarelto issues include epidural hematoma, paralysis, pulmonary embolism, decreased hemoglobin, leg weakness, bowel or bladder problems, retinal or intracranial hemorrhages, adrenal bleeding, and stroke.
If you or a loved one have suffered due to side effects attributed to Xarelto, help is at hand. The Bradley Law Firm is experienced in dealing with similar cases. Free, confidential case evaluations are available to help you understand your legal rights.
If you would like to learn more about Xarelto, you can speak directly with an attorney experienced in dealing with pharmaceutical companies, by calling 314-400-0000.