Drugs and medications are meant to heal our bodies—not harm them. Xarelto in particular is supposed to protect people from fatal clots by thinning the blood. This drug is often used to treat atrial fibrillation and lower a patient’s risk of stroke. It has gained popularity with patients because it lends autonomy to its users. Unlike Warfarin, Xarelto does not require frequent testing to determine its blood-thinning effects, but while its intentions are good, its use creates harmful side effects for users. One such side effect is an increased risk of internal bleeding. According to Western Journal of Emergency Medicine, in the first quarter of 2012, rivaroxaban (the generic name for Xarelto) was associated with 121 adverse cases of hemorrhaging.
A recent study, published in JAMA Ophthalmology found that rivaroxaban is associated with spontaneous vitreous hemorrhage, where blood fills the vitreous humor, which is the clear gel between the lens and the retina of the eye. In mild cases of vitreous hemorrhage, treatment is not needed, but if the case is severe enough, vitrectomy surgery could be required.
The study noted a correlation between the rivaroxaban transition period and an increased risk of hemorrhage. In other words, when patients were switching from a baseline anticoagulant to Xarelto, they were more likely to experience this internal bleeding.
Vitreous hemorrhages are not the only internal bleeding issues that patients experience with this drug. A study also discovered that patients aged 75 years and older were 74.1 percent more likely to experience major gastrointestinal bleeding, Healio reported, with 20 patients experiencing a fatal outcome. The study examined 31,883 users of rivaroxaban between the ages of 19 and 105. Twenty-one percent of the patients in the study were 65 years and older.
When patients experience symptoms of gastrointestinal bleeding, many times they’ll have dark excrement or will discharge various amounts of blood from their rectum or mouth, MedlinePlus noted. If a patient has any of these symptoms, they may need to undergo blood transfusions or draining of the stomach contents, just to name a few.
The eyes and gastrointestinal tract are not the only areas of the body susceptible to life-threatening bleeding issues. Rivaroxaban has been linked to intracranial hemorrhaging, particularly in elderly patients. Internal bleeding puts patients at severe risk for loss of limb functionality and even death.
What you can do
Since Xarelto was released in 2011, several lawsuits have been filed against Bayer and Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceuticals for issues such as wrongful death and severe internal bleeding. Patients and doctors need to be warned about the dangerous side effects of this drug so that they can make an educated decision on whether or not the drug is safe to use. If you or a loved one have suffered an adverse side effect after taking Xarelto, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Don’t let your pain go unnoticed—take action by beginning an injury claim against Xarelto today.
Lori Polemenakos is Director of Consumer Content and SEO strategist for LeadingResponse, a legal marketing company. An award-winning journalist, writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas, she's produced articles for major brands such as Match.com, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Xfinity, Mail.com, and edited several published books. Since 2016, she's published hundreds of articles about Social Security disability, workers' compensation, veterans' benefits, personal injury, mass tort, auto accident claims, bankruptcy, employment law and other related legal issues.