The medical world rejoiced when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the blood thinner Dabigatran in 2010. Their celebration may have been premature, however, and we at Gray and White Law want you to be aware that the risks of taking this warfarin alternative may far outweigh the benefits.
Warfarin (sold under the brand name Coumadin) and Dabigatran are both approved by the FDA as blood thinners for heart patients who have atrial fibrillation and are at risk for stroke. The FDA has also approved the drugs for certain other conditions that may lead to blood clots, such as:
- Heart valve replacements;
- Hip and knee joint replacements; and
- Hereditary clotting problems.
Dabigatran has some advantages over warfarin:
- Whereas warfarin users must have regular lab tests to ensure that the level of the drug is correct, Dabigatran users do not.
- Dabigatran does not interact with the number of foods and other medications that warfarin does.
- Dabigatran may offer slightly better stroke prevention.
That’s the good news, Dabigatran users; now for the bad.
Dangerous Side Effects of Dabigatran
Barely a year after the FDA approved Dabigatran, it issued a statement of intent to investigate a large number of serious health risks related to the use of the drug. Subsequently, Dabigatran’s manufacturer, Boehringer Ingelheim, revealed that it had received 260 reports of fatal, uncontrollable bleeding since 2008. As a result, lawsuits have been filed against the company, claiming that it failed to warn doctors and patients about the high risk of internal bleeding, as well as failed to provide a method to stop the bleeding.
Investigations have found that as many as 16 percent of the patients taking Dabigatran have suffered some type of internal bleeding. Some of those cases have been very serious and have led to gastrointestinal, vascular, and brain hemorrhages. What makes this condition more likely to become fatal is that no reversal agent exists for the relatively new drug, Dabigatran, to quell internal bleeding; a reversal agent is, however, available for warfarin.
Doctors are speaking out about the dangerous drug, even stating that they are “helpless and hopeless” against stopping the overwhelming bleeding of Dabigatran users who come into the emergency room. In turn, this irreversible bleeding has caused an extremely large number of deaths.
Elderly Dabigatran Patients
Of particular concern is the danger to elderly patients taking Dabigatran . As people age, they are more likely to fall due to their decreased mobility, and even a minor bruise can cause internal bleeding. A fall combined with exacerbated bleeding due to Dabigatran and no way to stop the bleeding is a prescription for death.
Take the case of an 83-year-old man on Dabigatran who was admitted to the University of Utah Medical Center after a routine fall. When he arrived at the hospital, he was fully alert and able to respond to verbal commands. His CT scan showed small, superficial areas of hemorrhage in his brain, but nothing of great concern.
Subsequent scans performed a couple of hours later, however, showed extensive progression of the hemorrhaging. All attempts to stop the bleeding, including administration of intravenous fluids and a protein were unsuccessful. The man fell into a coma and died shortly thereafter.
Consolidating Dabigatran Lawsuits
Due to the enormous number of Dabigatran lawsuits filed against Boehringer Ingelheim, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation is considering the consolidation of Dabigatran defective drug lawsuits. This could enable patients—and their families—who have been harmed by the drug to collect damages more quickly and easily.
If you or a loved one has suffered serious consequences from taking Dabigatran, contact Gray and White Law to discuss your legal rights. We are experienced Kentucky defective drug attorneys, and we have helped our clients get millions of dollars in compensation for the injuries they have suffered because of others, including medical malpractice, wrongful death, and medication errors.
You deserve to be awarded compensation to recover from the harm caused by taking Dabigatran. Call us at 502-210-8942 or toll free at 888-450-4456, or fill out our online form to request a free consultation.