Update: On May 20, 2016, Forbes quoted me discussing the future of the Xarelto litigation.
I’m a lawyer for people injured by the blood thinner Xarelto (rivaroxaban). This page answers some of the most common questions asked about Xarelto lawsuits.
If you or a loved one developed bleeding while taking Xarelto, contact our product liability lawyers for a free and confidential consultation by filling out the online form below, by calling my office directly at (215) 948-2718 or toll-free (844) 459-8719. I’m of counsel with TorHoerman Law, the nationwide product liability firm that negotiated the $2.4 billion Actos settlement and the $650 million Pradaxa settlement.
Blood thinners and anticoagulants are used to prevent strokes and embolisms in patients with atrial fibrilation, deep vein thrombosis, and pulmonary embolism. In hospitals, heparin is used, but it has to be managed very carefully, including with blood tests every few hours. Outside of hospitals, warfarin / coumadin is typical, but it, too, requires regular check-ups, and there’s a big risk of patients inadvertently taking too much or too little.
Over the past few years, several new blood thinners come as simple one-a-day or twice-a-day pills, with the promise of easier and safer use. Pradaxa was one example — but it had a big problem of producing excessive bleeding even with used as directed, bleeding that could not easily be controlled with the normal measures, like Vitamin K or dialysis. Our firm lead the lawsuits against the makers of Pradaxa, eventually resulting in a $650 million settlement.
Xarelto is a different drug, but it has the same problem: excessive bleeding that cannot be controlled even if the patient goes to the emergency room. For example, in 2014, emergency medicine researchers published a case report about Xarelto causing a “severe intracranial hemorrhage” in an elderly patient with mild kidney problems. The patient had a history of atrial fibrillation and ischemic stroke and so had used warfarin for years, but, nine months before the injury, had switched to Xarelto.
Should The Drug Maker Have Known Xarelto Was A Problem?
The lawsuits allege that the companies that make and sell Xarelto, Bayer, Johnson & Johnson, and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, should have known about the risks of Xarelto. The lawsuits also allege those companies should have done more to address the problems, such as by putting a strong warning on the “prescribing information” used by physicians who are considering switching their patients to Xarelto.
Many of these concerns are not new. In the major clinical trial of Xarelto (“Oral Rivaroxaban for Symptomatic Venous Thromboembolism”), published in 2010, it was revealed that thrombotic and bleeding events were higher in patients over the age of 65 than those under the age of 65. Similarly, a medical review in 2012 (“Antithrombotic therapy for stroke prevention in non-valvular atrial fibrillation”) found that Xarelto created a higher risk of gastrointestinal bleeding than warfarin, and that one of the “disadvantages” of Xarelto was “the continuing need to develop and validate rapidly effective antidotes for major bleeding and standardised tests that accurately measure plasma concentrations and anticoagulant effects.” Moreover, there were signs that once-a-day dosing was potentially more dangerous than twice-a-day.
In other words, these problems have been known for years, and yet Xarelto is still widely sold. In fact, as of 2014, it was the 23rd best-selling medication in the world. That same year, other medical researchers published an article on several of these new drugs, including Xarelto (“Bleeding with dabigatran, rivaroxaban, apixaban. No antidote, and little clinical experience”), pointing out that a large number of individual factors can increase the risk of bleeding, including:
- mild renal failure
- advanced age
- extremes in body weight
- drug-drug interactions, such as with aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and cardiovascular drugs
Are There Any Lawsuits, Jury Verdicts, or Settlements?
Yes. The vast majority of lawsuits have either been filed in the Complex Litigation Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (where my firm is based), or in the Multidistrict Litigation in the federal court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. We have filed Xarelto lawsuits in both. These cases are not class actions, where lawyers determine the settlement amount for the plaintiff. Rather, these cases are individually filed and handled, and the plaintiff keeps control of whether they want to accept a settlement or not.
There have been no jury trials yet, although several are planned in the future. There have been no public settlements.
Should I Contact A Lawyer?
If you or a loved one has experienced a bleeding event on Xarelto, then, yes, you should probably speak with an attorney. Unfortunately, the “statute of limitations” prevents injured people from filing lawsuits after a certain point. In some states, the statute of limitations is as short as one year. Thus, it’s important to figure out early if you can pursue a lawsuit.
We offer free, confidential consultations for Xarelto lawsuits. All of our Xarelto lawsuits are handled on a contingent-fee basis, where you never pay out of pocket for attorney’s fees or litigation expenses, and where we are compensated only if we win a settlement, jury verdict, or court judgment.
If you’re interested in a consultation, please contact us by filling out the online form below, by calling my office directly at (215) 948-2718 or toll-free (844) 459-8719.