Xarelto is a medication that is used to thin the blood. Generically known as rivaroxaban, it's a medication most prescribed to prevent blood clots due to irregular heartbeats. It may also be prescribed for patients who have been through knee or hip-replacement surgery.
This medication may be used to help treat blood clots that have already formed, such as those involved in deep-vein thrombosis and to help prevent them from returning. Overall, this anticoagulent stops clotting by blocking proteins in the blood.
Prescribed correctly, Xarelto and drugs like it can be safe. However, if they are not prescribed correctly or are given to those with certain medical conditions, it could be dangerous or deadly. For example, someone who has a clotting disorder would likely be unable to take a drug like this, since it could cause excessive bleeding.
Why is there a class-action lawsuit against Xarelto?
The class-action lawsuit claims that the manufacturers and designers of the drug, Bayer and Johnson & Johnson, did not warn about the potential for deadly bleeding episodes that the drug later caused in some individuals. The settlement in early March 2019 involved around 25,000 cases.
In this situation, the companies did settle for around $775 million, but they did not admit to liability. Johnson & Johnson specifically stated that it chose to settle due to the demands of the case, which would eat up time and resources.
Xarelto was designed to take the place of older drugs such as Warfarin, which required more blood tests and stricter diets. Xarelto, which is similar to other medications including Pradaxa and Eliquis, do not require as much testing. Attorneys argued that the companies had not warned that massive bleeding could occur. Additionally, there had been no specific antidote to that bleeding, unlike with the older classes for drugs.
In 2018, the Food and Drug Administration did finally approve an antidote to Xarelto and Eliquis that could help stop bleeding. The drug, Andexxa, is sold by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfeizer.
What's interesting in this situation is that the other drug, Pradaxa, also was involved in a massive settlement deal. It was believed to be the cause of around 4,000 bleeding deaths and injuries reported in a class-action lawsuit.
The reality is that companies must inform consumers of the risks. If a company does not let others know that bleeding is a risk, even with a drug like an anticoagulant, then they can be held responsible if a patient falls ill later on.