For patients with atrial fibrillation, the release of a new type of anticoagulant drug known as a thrombin inhibitor was welcome news. Atrial fibrillation is a condition characterized by an irregular heartbeat that can result in poor blood flow to the body. For a long time, treatment options were limited. Warfarin (also known as Coumadin) has been the industry standard for a-fib treatment for decades. As a relatively ‘high maintenance’ drug, Warfarin requires constant blood monitoring to check for hemorrhaging and internal bleeding. Thrombin inhibitors promised to be less invasive, with fewer side effects and no need for blood monitoring. Eliquis is the third drug in this new class, following Pradaxa and Xarelto. Contact a Boston Drug Injury Lawyer.
Thrombin Inhibitors Lack Antidote for Excessive Bleeding
Thrombin inhibitors are relatively new to the market, but they have grown in popularity quite quickly. Unfortunately, quick growth often leaves extra room for error, and the billion-dollar thrombin inhibitor industry is no exception. Shortly after reaching over $1 billion in annual sales, problems started to surface. Pradaxa and Xarelto are linked to multiple injuries and deaths resulting from unstoppable hemorrhaging. All anticoagulants, including Warfarin, carry a risk of excessive bleeding. However, there is one major difference between the old and the new. Warfarin has something called a reversal agent, which is basically an antidote for excessive bleeding. By administering a dose of vitamin K and frozen plasma, a physician can stop the drug’s anticoagulation properties in their tracks. The same is not true for thrombin inhibitors.
Despite being linked to thousands of deaths, Pradaxa and Xarelto both remain on the market. If that isn’t concerning enough, marketing efforts for the newest version, Eliquis, have become increasingly aggressive. Eliquis was approved for use in 2012 as a preventative treatment for blood clotting and stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation. Its joint manufacturers, Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb, have recently kicked off a targeted direct-to-consumer advertising campaign to market the drug for a-fib treatment as well as for newly approved uses. The FDA has just allowed indications for other blood clot-related health problems, such as pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis.
All together, these three drugs have been linked to approximately 8,000 deaths. Although manufacturers of thrombin inhibitors are working to develop an antidote for their drugs, nothing has been approved yet.
Altman & Altman, LLP – Drug Injury Attorneys Serving All of New England
If you or a loved one has been injured due to the use of prescribed thrombin inhibitors or any other type of drug, we can help. The drug injury and medical malpractice lawyers at Altman & Altman, LLP believe that the big pharmaceutical companies should be held accountable for their negligence, especially when it comes at the expense of thousands of lives. This is simply not acceptable. Our highly skilled team of attorneys will fight aggressively to get you the compensation you deserve for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and any other associated costs. We will evaluate your case and help you understand your rights and options. Don’t go through this alone. Our attorneys have been protecting the rights of accident and injury victims for nearly 50 years. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free consultation about your case.