Dabigatran, marked by Bohringer Ingelheim under the name ‘Pradaxa,’ is a direct thrombin inhibitor. It is often prescribed for patients who have atrial fibrillation, a rapid, irregular heart rhythm that affects more than two million Americans.
People who suffer from atrial fibrillation have an increased risk of blood clots. These can travel to the brain and cause a stroke. Pradaxa is often chosen over other blood-thinning drugs like Warfarin because it is easier for the patient to take. While Pradaxa is more expensive than Warfarin, which has been in use for this indication for more than fifty years, patients who take Pradaxa require less intense monitoring by their doctors. This results in a net savings for health care providers.
Pradaxa was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration in October of 2010. The drug was approved for use in Scotland in September 2011 but has yet to be approved in either England or Wales. As many as 40,000 people in Scotland have atrial fibrillation and are at risk for developing strokes.
All blood thinning drugs increase the risk of internal bleeding. While patients taking similar drugs like Heparin or Warfarin may be given Vitamin K to protect them from this side effect, there is no antidote for Pradaxa. Consequently, a number of patients for whom Pradaxa was prescribed have suffered severe internal bleeding, hemorrhaging or gastrointestinal bleeding. A number of patients have even died as a result.
Like a slow leak in a household plumbing system, the side effects of internal bleeding from taking Pradaxa may be difficult to detect. People who are taking the drug should be on the lookout for swollen joints, coughing up blood, unusual bruising, brown or pink-stained urine or any other problems related to bleeding.
Pradaxa lawyers are well trained and have a good understanding of the legal issues pertaining to Pradaxa. Any patient or member of their family who suspects they are having Pradaxa side effects should arrange for a consultation with Pradaxa lawyers to find out if there are grounds for filing a lawsuit.
Patients with atrial fibrillation who are taking Pradaxa to ameliorate the risk of stroke should not discontinue the drug without first consulting with their general practitioner or practice nurse. If you or a loved one has been affected, contact a Pradaxa attorney or call 1-800-BAD-DRUG today.