Disclaimer - By publishing this information on this Web site, the Boston, Massachusetts law firm of Altman & Altman LLP is not claiming to represent any clients or cases mentioned here. The content provided is designed to inform readers and is not intended as legal advice.

Xarelto is an anticoagulant (blood thinner) used to treat certain medical conditions, such as atrial fibrillation, stroke, and deep vein thrombosis. Although this drug and others in its class are quite effective, they carry the risk of serious side effects, some which can be life-threatening. As a result, Xarelto manufacturers, Bayer and Johnson & Johnson, are facing thousands of lawsuits.

All anticoagulants can cause excessive bleeding, and Xarelto is no exception. The difference between Xarelto and its predecessor Coumadin, however, is that Coumadin has an antidote to stop this bleeding. No such antidote exists for Xarelto. As a result, several hundred deaths have been linked to this dangerous drug. Despite the risk of fatal hemorrhaging, Xarelto has surpassed its competitors, racking up more than $1 billion in sales.

More than 18,000 Lawsuits Filed

As of September 2017, nearly 18,000 lawsuits have been filed against Bayer and Johnson & Johnson. These cases have been consolidated into Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) in Louisiana, and are currently in discovery. The injuries range in severity from minor injury to death. As such, there will probably be multiple tiers of settlements. Based on past MDL cases with similar injuries and recent settlements paid by Bayer and J&J in Yaz cases (another of the manufacturers’ dangerous drugs), the majority of the settlements will likely range from $100,000 to $300,000. Of course, they could be much higher or much lower, depending on various factors. A Boston drug injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been harmed by Xarelto or another dangerous drug.

Symptoms of Excessive Bleeding

Xarelto is linked to many side effects; some are minor and some can be life-threatening. Common minor side effects include back pain, leg weakness, and bladder problems. If you develop any side effects, it’s a good idea to consult with your physician. However, symptoms of excessive bleeding are of special concern. If you develop any of the symptoms below, seek immediate medical attention. You may be suffering from internal bleeding.

  • Chronic nose bleed
  • Bleeding of the gums
  • Urine that is brown, red, or pink
  • Uncontrollable bleeding
  • Black or red stool
  • Unusually-heavy vaginal or menstrual bleeding
  • Coughing up blood
  • Severe headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling weak
  • Vomiting blood, or vomit that looks like coffee grounds

As with many drugs that are similar to drugs already on the market, Xarelto was approved by the FDA following a fast-track approval process. Unfortunately, pharmaceutical companies are often so eager to get an exciting, new drug on the shelves that they don’t allow enough time for adequate safety testing.The lawsuits allege that Xarelto manufacturers failed to warn patients of the risks associated with their drug. A prominently-placed warning label or package insert would have allowed patients and doctors to weigh their options and choose an alternative if they so desired.

And it’s not just excessive bleeding that can be life threatening. A 2012 study published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery revealed that patients taking Xarelto after hip or knee surgery have nearly four times the risk of wound complications than those taking Heparin. A MA drug injury lawyer can help you obtain the compensation you deserve if you’ve been injured by a dangerous Continue reading

Invokana is a prescription medication used to control blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. The drug works with the kidneys to eliminate excess blood sugar through the passing of urine. Although effective at reducing glucose from the bloodstream, Invokana has been linked to several life-threatening medical conditions. As such, the drug’s manufacturer, Janssen Pharmaceutical, is facing an onslaught of product liability lawsuits, alleging that the company knew about the risk of health complications and failed to adequately warn the public.

Invokana is linked to multiple side effects, but the most serious are kidney failure and a condition called ketoacidosis. A potentially-deadly complication that can cause the brain to swell, ketoacidosis occurs when there is a buildup of toxic acids – called ketones – in the bloodstream. Despite all of these risks, Janssen Pharmaceutical, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, netted nearly $1 billion in profits from Invokana last year.

Invokana Lawsuits Consolidated in NJ Federal Court

The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPMDL) transferred nearly 100 Invokana lawsuits from throughout the country to New Jersey federal court. New Jersey was selected because Janssen Pharmaceuticals is headquartered in that state. There were also 37 cases already filed in NJ. A Boston drug injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured by a defective or dangerous drug

Lawsuits allege that Invokana caused ketoacidosis and kidney damage, as well as blood clots, strokes, and other cardiovascular problems. Although the FDA approved the drug in 2013, the risk of ketoacidosis wasn’t added to the warning label until 2015. Unfortunately, the warning came too late for some. And even now, with the updated warning label, Invokana continues to harm patients. In 2015, the FDA issued a warning that the drug could turn mild urinary tract infections into potentially-fatal infections of the blood and kidneys. And in 2016, the FDA warned that Invokana may cause acute pancreatitis.

Invokana lawsuits have been piling up for several years now. One of those lawsuits (Maddox v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals), alleges that Invokana patients “have suffered and may continue to suffer severe and permanent personal injuries, including diabetic ketoacidosis, stroke, heart attack, and severe kidney damage.” A MA drug injury lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured by a defective or dangerous drug.

Symptoms of Ketoacidosis

If you are currently taking Invokana, it may be wise to learn the symptoms of ketoacidosis. Left untreated, this condition can be fatal. If you develop any of the following symptoms, contact your health care provider immediately:

  • Breathing problems
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Chronic headache
  • Fruity breath
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Flushed face
  • Confusion
  • Pain in the abdomen

If you are taking Invokana, or have taken the drug in the past, consider talking to your physician about potential risks. When it comes to such serious side effects, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Continue reading

In May 2017, Teva Pharmaceuticals initiated a recall of its schizophrenia drug, Paliperidone. According to a report released by the pharmaceutical company, the drug may not be dissolving properly, which could lead to less-than-sufficient levels of the medication being absorbed by the patient’s body. The potential hazards of such a defect are actually quite serious. If a patient with schizophrenia fails to maintain therapeutic levels of Paliperidone in their system, life-threatening complications can result.

According to a recent report in Medscape Medical News, Paliperidone’s dissolution problem may “reduce effectiveness in treating a patient’s mental and/or mood symptoms including suicidal thoughts and behavior, self-injurious behavior, mental hospitalizations, assaults, and aggressive behavior, as well as vocal and motor tics.” A Boston drug injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured by a dangerous or defective drug.

Dangerous drug defects are shockingly common. Prescription medications are regularly in the news and at the center of lawsuits for dangerous side effects ranging from compulsive gambling to death. Although manufacturers have a duty to perform adequate testing before releasing these drugs onto the market, multiple loopholes exist to allow for fast-track approval processes that may fail to detect life-threatening side effects. For example, if a prescription drug is similar to an existing drug, testing requirements may be waived through one of the FDA’s expedited approval programs. As such, defects often go undetected until multiple patients have reported complications. And in far too many cases it’s too late for these patients.

Dangerous Drugs

There are dozens of dangerous prescription drugs still on the market today. Drugs linked to the most serious side effects include:

  • Abilify: An antipsychotic used to treat multiple mood disorders, Abilify is linked to compulsive eating, shopping, and gambling, hyper-sexuality, and other serious complications.
  • Cipro: This frequently-prescribed antibiotic and other drugs in the fluoroquinolone class are linked to life-threatening side effects, including Stevens-Johnson Syndrome and peripheral neuropathy (a form of nerve damage)
  • Xarelto, Pradaxa, and Eliquis: These blood thinners were hailed as a low-maintenance alternative to their only predecessor, warfarin. Unfortunately, excessive bleeding is a side effect of all blood thinners, and these drugs don’t have an antidote to stop that bleeding.
  • Invokana: Proven to lower blood sugar levels in diabetic patients, Invokana is linked to several life-threatening side effects, including kidney failure, heart attack, and a condition called ketoacidosis (the buildup of toxic acids in the bloodstream).
  • Risperdal: This drug is prescribed to young men and boys who suffer from bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia. Although effective at treating these disorders, Risperdal has a particularly-disturbing side effect; male patients have developed breasts while using the drug. In addition to being painful, this condition, called gynecomastia, can be emotionally traumatizing for young men.
  • Zofran: An anti-nausea medication originally marketed to chemotherapy patients, Zofran quickly became popular as a way to prevent nausea and morning sickness in pregnant women. Unfortunately, the drug – which has been prescribed to countless pregnant women without FDA approval – is now linked to multiple birth defects.

A MA drug injury lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured by a defective or dangerous drug. Continue reading

A hospitalized woman who claims that Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder caused her ovarian cancer was awarded a record $417 million on Monday. The lawsuit alleges that when used for feminine hygiene, talc particles in the baby powder can enter the vagina and embed in the ovaries, leading to irritation, inflammation and – potentially – this especially-aggressive type of cancer.

The lawsuit brought by Eva Echeverria is the highest award in a string of talcum powder verdicts  across the nation over the last few years. Echeverria claims to have used the baby powder daily for more than 50 years, until she received the ovarian cancer diagnosis in 2007. According to her lawsuit, the cancer was a direct result “of the unreasonably dangerous and defective nature of talcum powder.” A MA product liability attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured by a talc-based product.

The $417 million award consisted of $340 million in punitive damages and $68 million in compensatory damages. Included in the evidence presented in the case were multiple internal documents showing that Johnson & Johnson was aware of the risks associated with its baby powder but continued to market the product anyway. According to Johnson & Johnson spokeswoman Carol Goodrich, the company plans to appeal the verdict because scientific research supports the product’s safety.

“We are guided by the science, which supports the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder,” wrote Goodrich in a statement. “In April, the National Cancer Institute’s Physician Data Query Editorial Board wrote, ‘The weight of evidence does not support an association between perineal talc exposure and an increased risk of ovarian cancer.’ We are preparing for additional trials in the U.S., and we will continue to defend the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder.”

Does Talcum Powder Cause Cancer?

Talc is a mineral that is often mined alongside asbestos, another well-known carcinogen. In fact, asbestos was found in some talc-based powders in the past. But does talcum powder actually cause cancer? According to Dr. Daniel Cramer, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, the answer is yes. “Overall, women may increase their risk in general by about 33 percent by using talc in their hygiene,” said Cramer.

When women put talcum powder in their underwear for feminine hygiene purposes, talc particles may travel through the fallopian tubes to the ovaries, where they embed, causing irritation and inflammation which can lead to cancer over time. A Boston product liability attorney can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured by talcum powder or another dangerous product. Continue reading

Metal-on-metal hip implants were hailed as a superior alternative to their plastic and ceramic counterparts. Unfortunately, they are increasingly associated with serious medical complications, including the risk of blood poisoning. Read on for more information about metal hip implants and what to do if you’ve been injured by one of these defective medical devices.

Many metal hip implants are made of chromium-cobalt, a carcinogenic substance. When the metal components of the implant grind together through normal wear and tear, particles of chromium and cobalt can be released into the body. If the toxic substances enter the bloodstream, the results can be fatal. In addition to the risk of blood poisoning, the grinding of metal parts may also create metal debris. The shedding of this debris can lead to inflammation, extreme pain, bone deterioration, pseudo-tumors, and the need for revision surgery.

What Hip Implant Models are Dangerous?

Abilify is an antipsychotic prescription drug used to treat emotional disorders, including bipolar disorder, depression, schizophrenia, and some symptoms of autism. Although Ability can be quite effective at treating these disorders, it is also linked to serious medical complications and uncontrollable behaviors, such as binge eating and compulsive gambling.

How Does it Work?

Abilify controls certain disorders by stabilizing levels of dopamine and serotonin in the brain. In addition to multiple behavioral problems, Ability may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes in children. A 2013 study by Vanderbilt University, Columbia University and the Mayo Clinic, found that children being treated with Abilify and similar antipsychotic drugs have three times the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes.

The study compared children between the ages of six and 24 who used antipsychotics between 1996 and 2007 with children who were prescribed other drugs during the same period. Those who used antipsychotics had three times the risk of developing diabetes within one year. The risk increased as the dosages increased. As a result, the study’s authors are urging doctors to consider alternatives before prescribing Abilify or other antipsychotics:

“This is particularly important for high-risk children, for example, those with elevated weight. Children should be monitored carefully for metabolic effects predisposing them to diabetes, and use of the drug should be at the lowest possible dose for the shortest possible time,” said one of the study’s senior authors, Wayne A. Ray, Ph.D. A MA drug injury lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured by Abilify or a similar drug.

Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes

If you are concerned that your child has developed type 2 diabetes after taking Abilify, consult with your physician immediately.The following symptoms may be cause for concern:

  • Extreme thirst or hunger
  • Frequent urination
  • Fatigue
  • Vision problems
  • Frequent infections
  • Slow healing
  • Sores
  • Dark spots on skin

Abilify may also cause

  • Balance problems
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Restlessness
  • Muscle stiffness or trembling
  • Trouble walking
  • Uncontrollable body movements
  • Compulsive behaviors

The Link to Compulsive Behaviors

According to multiple studies, Abilify may impact an individual’s ability to control certain impulses, especially gambling, addictions, hyper-sexuality, and binge eating. Dating back to 2009, research linked dopamine receptor drugs such as Abilify to problems with impulse control. In 2014, the journal JAMA Internal Medicine found even more links between antipsychotics and abnormal behaviors, including weight gain in pediatric patients.

“Weight gain was pervasive even in medications usually considered to be weight neutral in adults,” said a lead author of the study, Dr. Christoph Correll. “The worry is that weight gain sustained over long periods of time can cause adverse outcomes like diabetes and heart attacks and strokes.” Continue reading

Did you suffer a serious, life-altering infection after a routine joint replacement surgery? Did you require additional surgeries, physical therapy, a prolonged hospital stay or even an amputation as a result of this infection?

There’s a chance that your infection was caused by a commonly-used, forced air heating blanket and you may be entitled to significant financial compensation to help mitigate your loss of money and time, and help ease your pain and suffering.

Temperature regulation prior to surgery is an important part of joint replacement procedures, especially for older patients that lose core body temperature faster and easier than younger patients. The “Bair Hugger” warming blanket, now manufactured by 3M Co., has been one of the most popular medical warming blankets in the country since 1987, and has been reported to have been used in more than 200 million surgeries in the past 30 years.

Johnson & Johnson is at the center of thousands of lawsuits due to dangerous defects in its DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement devices. Claimants allege that J&J failed to adequately warn patients and physicians about risks with the all-metal implants. Thousands have suffered extreme pain, and many will have life-long complications as a result. J&J agreed to settle a portion of the cases for billions, but more than 8,000 pending lawsuits remain. Read on to learn more about the risk of Pinnacle hip implants and whether you may be eligible to receive compensation. It may not be too late.

When all-metal implants hit the market, they quickly grew in popularity as a sturdier, more durable device than their plastic or ceramic predecessors. J&J’s first attempt at all-metal implants in the 2000s proved to be a disaster; the company eventually issued a global recall of its ASR model due to the risk of serious complications. Nearly 10,000 lawsuits arose from ASR and earlier models, forcing J&J to settle for $4 billion. A Boston defective medical products attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured by a hip implant or other medical device.

As mentioned above, there are still more than 8,000 lawsuits pending against J&J for its more recent model, the Pinnacle implant. After recalling its ASR implant, J&J continued to market and sell Pinnacle implants for nearly three years. Plaintiffs in the lawsuits against J&J allege the company is guilty of negligence because it sold defective products, failed to warn patients and physicians of associated risks, willfully concealed those risks from the general public, and acted maliciously. They even allege that J&J committed fraud.

Medical Complications Linked to All-Metal Hip Implants

All-metal implants have high failure rates and can lead to the following medical conditions:

  • Metallosis (a type of blood poisoning)
  • Bone deterioration
  • Tissue death
  • Infection
  • Inflammation
  • Loss of mobility
  • Extreme pain

During earlier trials, lawyers discovered an internal memo in which J&J estimated that approximately 40 percent of patients with an ASR hip replacement device would require a revision surgery in five years or less. Additional documents revealed that J&J was aware of the design defects, and that physicians had warned the company to pull its hip implants off the market. Further evidence showed that J&J decided to discontinue the devices rather than redesign them because they weren’t profitable enough.

Blood tests in patients with all-metal implants have shown high levels of cobalt and chromium. One patient had 85 times the normal amount of cobalt in her system. Chromium and cobalt poisoning can lead to multiple medical problems, and can eventually lead to death. If you are experiencing severe pain, hear popping or grinding noises, suffer from loss of mobility, or notice inflammation in your hip or groin area, contact your physician immediately. These symptoms may indicate a serious problem with your hip implant.  A MA defective medical products attorney can help you recover damages if you have been harmed due to a Pinnacle hip implant. Continue reading

All-metal hip replacements have been in the spotlight recently due to thousands of lawsuits filed against manufacturers of these products. Lawsuits allege the implants are linked to serious medical complications, including metal poisoning and bone deterioration. Plaintiffs in lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson for its DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement claim they suffered from metal poisoning and other complications after the implant shed metal, affecting surrounding tissue. Despite these risks, J&J has not issued a recall for its all-metal hip replacements.

Medical Complications Linked to DePuy Pinnacle Hip Implants

All-metal hip implants pose the risk of several serious medical conditions, including:

  • Severe pain
  • Dislocation
  • Deterioration of surrounding bone
  • Death of surrounding tissue
  • Implant loosening
  • Inflammation and swelling
  • Infection
  • The need for revision surgery
  • Metallosis (a type of metal poisoning)

It was originally believed that all-metal hip replacements would last longer and be more durable than their ceramic or plastic counterparts. However, it appears that the vast majority of complications are linked to the all-metal implants. In fact, many patients report that their all-metal device failed only a few years after being implanted. Research has shown that the issue is likely due to the process of metal shedding that often occurs with these implants. When metal particles are released into the surrounding tissue, high levels of cobalt and chromium may build up in the blood, resulting in a condition called metallosis. This painful, potentially-debilitating condition can lead to death of surrounding tissue, and deterioration of surrounding bone.

Symptoms of a Malfunctioning Hip Implant

According to a report from the National Joint Registry in Great Britain, up to 14 percent of all-metal hip replacements need to be removed within seven years. If you have a hip replacement device, the following symptoms may indicate a malfunction with your implant.

  • Severe pain in the hip, leg or groin
  • Difficulty walking
  • Difficulty standing
  • Swelling at or around the hip joint
  • Popping, squeaking, or grinding sounds
  • Kidney problems
  • Skin rashes
  • Depression
  • Thyroid problems
  • An enlarged heart

In 2011, the FDA issued a warning about the potential dangers of metal debris from all-metal hip replacements. The agency said that high levels of cobalt and chromium in the blood may cause additional illnesses and medical complications, including problems with the heart, thyroid, and nervous system. A Boston defective medical device attorney will help you recover damages if you’ve been injured due to an all-metal hip implant. Continue reading

More than 200,000 Americans suffer from the formation of blood clots in the veins every year. Anti-clotting medications exist, but some patients cannot take these drugs for various reasons. At first, IVC filters seemed to be the answer. IVC filters are medical devices intended to prevent blood clots from traveling to certain areas of the body. When implanted in the inferior vena cava, they may prevent clots from forming in the first place, thus reducing the risk of stroke and other serious medical conditions. Unfortunately, complications with these devices can be just as deadly as the blood clots themselves. As such, manufacturers of IVC filters are facing numerous product liability lawsuits for defective products.

What is the Danger?

It is shockingly common for pieces of IVC filters to break off, find their way to other areas of the body, and puncture organs and veins. According to the New England Society for Vascular Surgery, IVC filters have a 31 percent rate of fracture. In fact, most of these “splinters” migrate to the heart, lungs, or hepatic vein. And the risk of splintering increases the longer the filter remains in the patient’s body. A Boston defective medical products attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been harmed by an IVC filter.

Risks Associated with IVC Filters

These medical devices pose many life-threatening hazards, including:

  • Migration of the filter to other areas of the body
  • Fracture “splintering” of the filter
  • Perforation of organs and veins
  • Inability to retrieve filter
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Respiratory difficulties
  • Stroke
  • Death

The most disturbing aspect of this new information is that manufacturers may have known the risks and continued to market the filters anyway. Lawsuits allege that Bard knew about the risk of splintering as early as 2003, but failed to report its findings to the FDA, doctors or patients. In fact, Bard continued aggressive marketing of these deadly devices. A MA defective medical products lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured by an IVC filter.

Never Intended for Permanent Placement

IVC filters were never intended to remain in the body permanently. They are meant to be retrieved as soon as the risk of blood clots and pulmonary embolism has passed. Bard, one of the manufacturers of IVC filters, allegedly pushed for approval of permanent placement. Although Bard is the leading manufacturer of IVC filters, Cook and B. Braun are also at the center of multiple lawsuits for their defective filters. Continue reading

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