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Also known as Dabigatran, Pradaxa is an oral anticoagulant (blood thinner) being studied as a treatment for various clinical conditions. It has become a preferred orally administered anticoagulant since it does not require frequent blood tests for international normalized ratio (clotting tendency of blood) while offering similar results as other pills. Developed by the pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim, it is often used to prevent strokes in patients with atrial fibrillation (abnormal heart rhythm) due to non-heart valve causes. However, serious risks have been associated with Pradaxa, making it a dangerous drug like Xarelto.
According to an investigation, in 2012 Boehringer Ingelheim found that blood-level monitoring and adjusting dosage could lower major bleeding problems by 30% to 40% compared to warfarin, but the maker did not inform regulators and doctors. The drug maker has settled more than 4,000 Pradaxa lawsuits since May 2014 and agreed to pay $650 million to the victims and their families.
If you or someone you know experienced a serious Pradaxa side effect, an experienced Pradaxa attorney at The Potts Law Firm can confidently review your case with you at no charge.
According to a physician at the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, more than 15% of older patients treated for atrial fibrillation with blood thinners for one year experience bleeding. Although the medication comes with some minor side effects, like easily bruising or bleeding from minor cuts, serious and life-threatening side effects include:
- Fatal bleeding
- Intestinal bleeding
An investigation conducted by the British Medical Journal has raised serious concerns again about this type of blood thinner. It can cause serious bleeding, but since it is touted as requiring fewer tests in patients, less are done, which puts more patients at risk. In this 2014 report, experts argue that the guidelines for using Pradaxa could be flawed, and that testing blood levels in patients who take the drug could greatly reduce major bleeding problems.
In response, Boehringer Ingelheim reassured those who take Pradaxa that the pill is safe and effective as it is now used. The FDA has approved Pradaxa without the need for frequent blood tests.
With over 3 million Americans meeting the criteria needed to be prescribed Pradaxa, 850,000 have been given a prescription at an average cost of about $300 per month, which is humungous compared to a comparable pill, generic warfarin at $4 per month.