When it hit the market in October 2010, Pradaxa was the first new blood thinner medication approved since 1954. It was intended to replace warfarin, a notoriously dangerous drug, so dangerous, in fact, that it is one of the more common rat poisons in use. In addition to not being a rat poison, Pradaxa supposedly offers the following benefits:
- It takes effect faster than warfarin
- Patients on Pradaxa don’t need constant monitoring
- It doesn’t have known interactions with foods or other medications
So why aren’t more people singing the praises of Pradaxa?
The reason is that we don’t know just how much benefit Pradaxa offers–it may actually put people at increased risk of wrongful death compared to the traditional treatment.
Because Pradaxa cannot be monitored in the traditional way, it can be hard for doctors and nurses to determine whether Pradaxa is working as it should. This may mean a person is not getting enough of the medication, or too much, resulting in a risk of adverse bleeding events. This is especially problematic in patients who have decreased kidney function. The kidneys are supposed to eliminate Pradaxa from the system, but patients with decreased kidney function may suffer a buildup of the drug. And once bleeding starts, there is no antidote (unlike warfarin, which can be reversed with a dose of vitamin K).
Finally, there may be an increased risk of heart attack among Pradaxa users. A risk of increased heart attack showed up in clinical trials, and has recently been confirmed by a meta-analysis published in the Archives of Internal Medicine on March 12, 2012.
As the first drug in a new class of medications, Pradaxa may be a sign of things to come with Xarelto (approved 11/11) and Eliquis. (pending approval–possibly this week). Xarelto’s label carries additional warnings about bleeding in the spinal column, and it’s unknown if these risks might also apply to Pradaxa. But it is highly likely that all these drugs will carry a risk of severe bleeding.
To learn whether you might be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit for a loved one who died after taking Pradaxa, please contact Robert W. Kerpsack, CO, LPA in Columbus, Ohio for a free case evaluation.