With so many new prescription blood thinners available, how can you tell which drug is right for you? While your physician may recommend one in particular because it’s newer, it may not be ideal for treating your condition. Although some medications are used almost interchangeably, it doesn’t make them all as safe, effective, or inexpensive as their counterparts. Below, we review two commonly prescribed blood thinners: Xarelto vs Warfarin. Our Xarelto vs Warfarin comparison includes average drug costs, side effects and FDA warnings, plus legal actions involving each drug.
Xarelto vs Warfarin: Comparing Drug Costs, Side Effects & FDA Warnings
Xarelto (Generic Name: Rivaroxaban)
This new anticoagulant helps prevent blood clots from forming, especially if you have atrial fibrillation or need blood thinners post-surgery. It is also used to treat patients with blood clots, DVT, and PE.
Xarelto cost: $3000 per year
Xarelto side effects:
- Easy bruising
- minor bleeding
- serious bleeding (including unusual pain/swelling, prolonged bleeding from cuts or gums, persistent nosebleeds, heavy menstrual flow, coughing up blood)
- vomit that is bloody
- severe headache
- bloody stools
- difficulty swallowing
Is there a Xarelto antidote? No
Xarelto FDA warnings: In 2013, the FDA received 593 Xarelto bleeding event reports. In 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a warning about Xarelto. Because the drug does not have an antidote (unlike its counterpart warfarin), a serious bleeding incident could be fatal. If/when this happens, patients run the risk of bleeding out because there’s no Xarelto antidote available.
Prescription required for Xarelto? Yes
Xarelto lawsuit/settlement history: The first wrongful death lawsuit filed against Xarelto happened in 2014. In December 2014, there were 33 Xarelto lawsuits pending in the multidistrict litigation (MDL 2592) before Judge Eldon E. Fallon. In January 2015, the number of pending Xarelto lawsuits rose to 86.
Warfarin (Brand Name: Coumadin)
A longstanding blood thinner that helps prevent blood clots, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and pulmonary embolism (PE).
Warfarin cost: $200 per year
Warfarin side effects: Nausea, loss of appetite, stomach, abdominal pain, serious bleeding
Does Warfarin have an antidote? Yes
Warfarin FDA warnings: In 2011, the FDA warned that taking warfarin while pregnant could cause fetal harm. The agency stated, “Exposure to warfarin during the first trimester of pregnancy caused a pattern of congenital malformations in about 5% of exposed offspring.”
Prescription required for Warfarin? Yes
Warfarin lawsuit/settlement history: Many patients sued Warfarin’s manufacturer for failing to warn consumers about potential birth defect risks. However, since Warfarin is less popular now due to newer blood thinners like Xarelto, suing may be difficult. That’s especially true because a warfarin antidote exists (doctors dose patients with Vitamin K).
Xarelto vs Warfarin: Why Do Doctors Recommend One Over the Other?
Many doctors initially recommended newer anticoagulant Xarelto over Warfarin because it doesn’t require monthly blood monitoring appointments. Patients scheduling monthly blood draws to check Warfarin’s efficacy were thrilled to have an alternative. Still others were tired of limiting leafy greens in their diet (like spinach) which are naturally rich in Vitamin K. Xarelto patients can eat whatever they like and avoid monthly blood monitoring tests. However, Xarelto is more expensive and currently has no FDA-approved antidote to reverse its anticoagulant effects during emergency bleeding episodes. That may change soon, as an antidote for Xarelto and Eliquis called AndexXa™ (andexanet alpha) is currently under FDA review. While the FDA rejected AndexXa last year due to insufficient studies, the drug’s manufacturer, Portola Pharmaceuticals, just re-submitted it.
In the meantime, only you can decide which blood thinner best meets your health needs when comparing Xarelto vs Warfarin. If you prefer fewer blood tests and don’t eat foods containing Vitamin K, you might prefer Xarelto. But if uncontrolled bleeding risks that could turn deadly have you concerned, go with the cheaper option and choose Warfarin. You can always ask your doctor to change your prescription once a Xarelto antidote becomes available on the market.
What You Can Do
If you took Xarelto and experienced uncontrolled bleeding, you may be eligible for compensation. To get your own filing started, fill out your free claim review today. An experienced attorney will contact you to discuss your claim and provide more helpful information.