Xarelto is a blood-thinning drug that was sold for years without a reversal agent. Over 18,000 lawsuits have already been filed by people who were injured by severe bleeding, but not as part of a class action. Instead, they are individual lawsuits by people with their own lawyer.
What is the problem?
Xarelto (rivaroxaban) is a blood-thinning drug (anticoagulant) that is used to treat blood clots, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and pulmonary embolisms. It has been sold by Bayer HealthCare and Janssen Pharmaceuticals since 2011.
Xarelto is the second FDA-approved drug in a new generation of anticoagulants that are marketed as alternatives to warfarin. Warfarin has been a mainstay of anticoagulation therapy since the 1950s, but it is a problematic drug that requires frequent dosage adjustments and dietary restrictions. Unlike warfarin, Xarelto is an easy-to-use pill taken once or twice a day.
When Xarelto hit the market, it had no reversal agent — although one may have been discovered in January 2014. In comparison, Coumadin (warfarin) can be reversed with a dose of Vitamin K.
In a traumatic accident, emergency surgery, or during a cerebral hemorrhage (bleeding in the brain), doctors may struggle to stop bleeding in a patient on Xarelto. Not even dialysis (mechanically cleaning a patient’s blood) can remove it from the body. Some studies have linked Xarelto to a higher risk of uncontrollable bleeding for acutely ill patients. Lawsuits accuse Bayer and Janssen of downplaying the bleeding risks of Xarelto.