To understand the side effects associated with Xarelto, it is important to first know what the drug is and how it works.
Xarelto is a medication developed by Bayer Healthcare and sold in the U.S. by Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals. It is commonly called a “blood thinner” or “anticoagulant.” It is also referred to as an anti-thrombotic.
The medication is consumed orally. It is usually taken with food or water. It is prescribed by doctors in 2.5 milligram, 10mg, 15mg and 20mg tablets.
Thrombin is an enzyme that is activated when blood starts to clot. The enzyme causes the development of a protein, fibrin. The fibrin binds blood cells together, forming blood clots.
It is natural for this blood-clotting process to occur when we get hurt by something such as a strike to the body. However, in many situations, blood clotting is not natural and can be potentially life-threatening. This type of blood clot is called a thrombus.
If a thrombus becomes detached and travels through the bloodstream, it can stop vital organs from getting a proper supply of blood. This blockage is called a thromboembolism.
This is why anticoagulants such as Xarelto, Pradaxa, Coumadin or other types of anticoagulants are prescribed. Xarelto, for instance, contains an active ingredient, rivaroxaban, which prevents the development of the thrombin enzyme. As a result, Xarelto prevents blood clots from forming.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Xarelto for three situations:
Now that you understand how Xarelto works, it should help you to understand how the most serious side effect associated with the drug can arise: Uncontrolled or excessive bleeding.
Because it prevents blood clots from forming, Xarelto may lead to this type of bleeding, which is also known as a hemorrhage. The problem with Xarelto is that there is no known antidote – a way to stop the bleeding – until Xarelto passes through one’s system. As the Xarelto labeling indicates, this may take between five to nine hours in a patient between ages 20 to 45.
Xarelto-related bleeding may occur beneath the skin, within the skull or brain, in the digestive tract, in the abdomen, in the kidneys, in the retina or within a muscle.
If the bleeding is external, it will be immediately noticeable and may include excessive swelling around the wound. However, internal bleeding can be more difficult to notice. This is why one should pay close attention to the following potential side effects:
If you are concerned about these side effects, it is important to contact your doctor before you discontinue using Xarelto. If you suddenly stop using the medication, it may increase your risk of suffering a blood clot.
If you or a family member has suffered a serious or fatal bleeding event or other side effects after taking Xarelto, it is imperative that you speak with an attorney immediately.
The risks associated with uncontrolled bleeding events are made far worse as the bleeding will continue due to the anti-clotting properties of the medication. Continued hemorrhaging can lead to death. Blood pooling around the spine or the organs in the body or brain can, in the end, cause permanent disability.
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