The cases in the Xarelto multidistrict litigation pending in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana now number nearly 5,400.
Experts who followed this matter from the beginning felt that there would numerous cases in the litigation because of the way Xarelto came to market and because there is no antidote for Xarelto bleeding.
Warfarin (Coumadin), once the leading blood thinner for patients with atrial fibrillation or those at risk for stroke, requires regular blood monitoring and a careful diet to maintain the balance between effective blood thinning and sudden bleeds. But when a warfarin user experiences bleeding, vitamin K can restore the ability to clot and give the patient a reasonable chance of survival. With careful blood monitoring and attention to diet, warfarin has proved to be reasonably safe treatment. But doctors and patients had been hoping for a drug that provided the benefits of warfarin without the restrictions and Xarelto seemed to fill the bill.
Xarelto (rivaroxaban) came to market with the promise of a reduced need for monitoring and no dietary restrictions. Like warfarin, Xarelto can also pose a serious bleeding risk, but, unlike warfarin, there is no known antidote for Xarelto bleeding, and this has propelled many of the Xarelto lawsuits. Although an antidote is reportedly being researched, it will come too late for many Xarelto users who have suffered bleeding complications and even death..
One of the lawsuits was filed by a woman whose father suffered a serious brain bleed and died, just a month after he began taking Xarelto to reduce his risk of stroke. Another case was filed by a Florida woman whose husband suffered a serious brain bleed. Doctors breached his skull in an effort to relieve the building pressure, but they were not successful in saving the man’s life. He was taking Xarelto as a treatment for atrial fibrillation when he died.
The plaintiffs in these and similar cases allege that Janssen Pharmaceutical and Bayer AG, the makers of Xarelto, were not only negligent in bringing Xarelto to market without an available antidote, but also in not adequately warning patients and health care providers about the lack of an antidote. Plaintiffs also allege the defendants were negligent in saying less monitoring was required when, given the lack of an antidote, Xarelto monitoring could be crucial.
Some Xarelto plaintiffs have noted that ads for Xarelto feature celebrity users—including golf legend Arnold Palmer—who happily proclaim Xarelto’s convenience without mentioning the risk of uncontrollable bleeding. A number of plaintiffs have said that if they had been aware of this serious risk, they would have asked their doctor for a different treatment.