Eliquis Led to Fatal Hemorrhaging, Lawsuit AllegesAug 3, 2016
A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb alleging that the blood thinner Eliquis (apixaban) is to blame for a Mississippi man's fatal injuries. A lawsuit was filed on behalf of his surviving spouse. The plaintiff's husband began taking Eliquis in June 2015 to treat his atrial fibrillation, an abnormal heart rhythm that places individuals at increased risk of blood clots and related injuries. The lawsuit alleges that the drug makers failed to warn about the lack of antidote with the drug, and the risk of uncontrollable bleeding.
According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff suffered from internal bleeding less than three months after starting Eliquis and ultimately died in September 2015. The plaintiff alleges that these injuries were caused by Eliquis. The suit alleges that Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb knew about the risks, but continued to sell the medication and failed to warn consumers.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Eliquis in 2012 for patients with atrial fibrillation. Later, the agency approved the drug for patients at risk for pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis (DVT), conditions that stem from blood clots. DVT occurs when a blood clot develops in one of the deep veins of the leg. If a piece of the clot breaks off and travels through the circulatory system, it can end up in the lungs, leading to a life-threatening condition known as pulmonary embolism.
Eliquis is among a newer generation of anticoagulants, alongside Pradaxa and Xarelto. When these drugs were released, the lawsuit states, they were marketed as being far superior to warfarin-also sold under the name, Coumadin-because they do not require blood monitoring or dietary restrictions.
Anticoagulants reduce the risk of life-threatening blood clots, but that may also mean that it is more difficult for blood to clot, when necessary. One of the most important aspects of drug safety is assessing its risks versus its benefits. When doctors prescribe a drug to a patient, they need to have all available current information to help make the best decision. The lawsuit alleges that Eliquis did not adequately warn about the lack of an antidote for Eliquis, meaning there is no way to stop the bleeding once it starts. Warfarin, on the other hand, can be reversed with vitamin K. The Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine published an article placing Pradaxa, Xarelto, and Eliquis in the same risk category, stating that doctors had serious difficulty managing bleeding that occurs in patients taking these drugs.