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For people with irregular heart rhythm, hypertension, or another valvular heart condition, blood thinners can help prevent dangerous and potentially deadly blood clots. But as with any medication, there are risks of side effects.
One such blood thinner, Xarelto, is a popular treatment for adults undergoing hip and knee replacement surgeries. But some patients have suffered from severe internal bleeding after taking Xarelto, sometimes resulting in death. And the lawsuits against the drug's manufacturer, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, are starting to pile up. Here's what you need to know about the current litigation.
The current federal lawsuits, to be heard first in Louisiana, are a combination of 40 cases filed against Janssen and Bayer, claiming the drug manufacturers failed to adequately warn patients that Xarelto could increase the risks for cranial and gastrointestinal bleeding. These "bellwether" cases are slated to begin in early 2017, and could set the tone for future Xarelto lawsuits.
As Judge Eldon E. Fallon of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana said:
The problem in the past with selecting bellwether cases is that we didn't drill down on the numbers of cases in order to decide what a good bellwether case is. It was a little bit random. So what we are trying to do now is to pick 40 cases. Hopefully, these 40 cases mimic the census of the entire litigation.
On top of these 40 cases, another 800-plus are scheduled to be processed in Philadelphia's Complex Litigation Center. (The same court system handling a slew of lawsuits against Janssen based on another of its drugs, Risperdal.)
As with all blood thinners, or anticoagulants, Xarelto increases the risk of internal bleeding and may be associated with hemorrhaging in the eye. In addition, patients taking Xarelto were more than twice as likely to experience stomach bleeding than those taking another anticoagulant.
In some cases, internal bleeding has been fatal, as it was with Opal Perkins, who died from a blood transfusion to treat Xarelto-related gastrointestinal bleeding. Hers is one of the many lawsuits heading to trial soon.
If you've been suffered from the side effects of Xarelto, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney in your area.