Xarelto Risks for the Elderly
As an anticoagulant drug, Xarelto is a medication which is often prescribed to the elderly. Unfortunately, those elderly patients who are frequently prescribed Xarelto are the same ones who stand to be harmed by the potential side effects of this drug. Since it became available in 2011, Xarelto has been highly controversial due to the many serious side effects it has been known to cause. Fatalities have resulted from Xarelto side effects, and countless lawsuits are now in progress as a result of this damage. For an elderly patient in need of blood thinning medication, Xarelto presents a number of potentially dangerous side effects.
The main side effect which has led to severe complications and death in Xarelto patients is uncontrolled bleeding. Xarelto is a blood thinner, which naturally makes for an increased risk of bleeding due to the thinning of the blood. However, it seems that this treatment may go too far in some cases, as many patients have been serious injured or killed by uncontrolled bleeding while on Xarelto. While this is a danger that effects all Xarelto patients, it is particularly concerning for the elderly, who may not be able to survive a bleeding event long enough to be treated by a physician. Also, elderly patients are more prone to accidents and falls than younger patients, making it even more likely that they will be affected by a bleeding problem.
Often this uncontrolled bleeding takes place internally, making it difficult to spot until it is too late. Internal bleeding and bleeding of the brain are both possible, especially in elderly patients. Those on Xarelto should watch for signs of internal bleeding, such as nosebleeds, excessive bruising, vomiting blood, blood in the stool, and more. Any of these symptoms should be reported to a doctor right away for further evaluation.
No Testing Required
One of the reasons that many Xarelto patients cite for choosing this medication is the lack of ongoing testing. Patients on many other blood thinning medications, such as warfarin, have to have their blood tested frequently so the dosage of their medication can be adjusted. Obviously, this is an inconvenience for the patient, and it adds to the overall cost of care.
With Xarelto, it is not necessary to return for blood work, and many patients don’t need to follow a specific diet as can be the case with other blood thinners. The appeal of this lack of blood work is obvious, but it may come with some side effects. Those on a drug like warfarin are being regularly monitored, so a doctor may be able to detect a problem through blood work which can then be accounted for in the way the patient is medicated. No such tracking will be performed when Xarelto is chosen, meaning underlying problems which could contribute to uncontrolled bleeding will not be addressed.
The lack of testing is something that is particularly concerning for elderly patients who are likely to be on other medications in addition to Xarelto. Since many seniors have difficulty getting around on their own, they may be even more motivated to choose Xarelto over other blood thinning medications since it will allow them to avoid regular trips to the doctor. In the end, however, the monitoring that comes along with other options may be better for the health needs of an elderly individual.
Addressing Uncontrolled Bleeding
There is another serious problem to consider for seniors who are taking Xarelto – the lack of an antidote. Some of the other blood thinning medications on the market today, such as warfarin, have an antidote which can be used to restore some of the blood’s coagulating abilities when necessary. There is no such antidote for Xarelto, meaning a patient who is suffering from uncontrolled bleeding may not be able to be helped even if they are taking promptly to a medical facility. Doctors will not have a medication option available for raising the thickness of the blood, so internal bleeding could continue until serious damage or even death is reached.
Elderly patients who suffer from an uncontrolled bleeding event are at risk of death due to the fragile state of their bodies as a whole. While uncontrolled bleeding is serious and dangerous for younger people as well, it is particularly troublesome when experienced in a senior citizen. Without the option to use an antidote, and with the possibility of uncontrolled bleeding to develop before the patient is aware of a problem, the potential for catastrophic outcomes is easy to understand. Many elderly patients have already been harmed by this drug in its short time on the market, and the FDA has required strongly warning labels on the packaging as a result. While the drug is still legal as a blood thinning agent, there are plenty of concerns about its safety for elderly and younger patients alike.
If you or an elderly loved one has been harmed in some way by Xarelto, you may be able to pursue legal action against the makers of this drug. You will not be guaranteed any financial benefit when you file suit, but this option will give you the opportunity to receive damages. It is possible that you will have incurred medical bills or pain and suffering as a result of Xarelto. When you file suit, as thousands have already done, you will have a chance to be financially compensated for these issues.