The blood thinner Pradaxa has caused an unprecedented number of deaths from uncontrollable bleeding. So many lawsuits have resulted from the people affected by this drug that it has become a federal case. If you or someone you love in Louisville takes Pradaxa, you may find this information helpful.

History of Blood Thinners

People with a type of irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation take anticoagulants, or blood thinners, to prevent blood clots, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes. The blood thinner warfarin, sold under the brand name Coumadin, was originally marketed as a rat poison beginning in 1948. The public was surprised when warfarin was approved by the FDA six years later as an anticoagulant.

Although warfarin does thin the blood, it has some major drawbacks. Patients taking warfarin must not eat foods containing vitamin K and have to avoid certain medications. They must have their blood “thickness” checked frequently—at first every three to four days, then one or two times each month. If the blood is too thick, clots are more likely; if it is too thin, bleeding risk is higher.

Enter Pradaxa

In the mid-2000s, eight pharmaceutical companies began research into alternatives to warfarin. Boehringer Ingelheim was the first to offer a new blood thinner—Pradaxa. When it was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in October 2010, Pradaxa was lauded as an improvement over warfarin. It is slightly more effective than warfarin at preventing strokes, interacts with fewer drugs and foods, and doesn’t require frequent blood tests.

It seemed that a preferable alternative to warfarin finally existed. In the first two months after its release, more than a million Pradaxa prescriptions were filled.

A Horrible Complication

Almost immediately the reports of injury and death related to Pradaxa use came pouring in. One of the risks of taking any blood thinner, including warfarin, is a higher-than-normal incidence of bleeding. When warfarin users encounter this problem, they have several options available to stop the bleeding. Pradaxa users quickly came to realize, however, that there is no reversal agent for the new drug. Patients were experiencing severe bleeding episodes and were unable to stop them. Pradaxa’s darker side had been revealed.

Lawsuits began surfacing against Boehringer Ingelheim, charging that the company had deceived doctors and their patients by not warning them about this dangerous situation. So many lawsuits were filed that lawyers handling the Pradaxa cases filed a motion on May 30, 2012, to consolidate all of the lawsuits into one federal case. Their request has been granted.

Taking Their Case to Court

On August 8, 2012, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation issued an order consolidating all outstanding Pradaxa lawsuits into one. The case will be heard in the federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) court in the Southern District of Illinois with Judge David Herndon presiding.

If you or a loved one has suffered as a consequence of Pradaxa use in Kentucky, you should get in touch with a qualified Louisville Pradaxa complications attorney. The lawyers at Gray and White Law have successfully handled cases of injury and death resulting from the uncontrollable bleeding associated with Pradaxa use. Call us at 502-210-8942 or toll-free at 888-450-4456. We’ll set you up with a FREE, no-obligation consultation to discuss your case.

Matthew L. White
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Founder & Partner of Louisville Personal Injury Law Firm Gray & White Law

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