Since the 1950s, warfarin was the drug of choice to prevent blood clots from forming in people with atrial fibrillation. Xarelto, which was FDA-approved in 2011, has been recently embraced by doctors as an easier blood thinning alternative.
There are a few very important distinctions between these blood thinners that patients should know about.Food Interactions
Unlike Xarelto, certain foods can interact with warfarin and lessen its effectiveness. Patients must keep the amount of vitamin K consistent in their diets to avoid counteracting the affects of warfarin, according to an article by the Indiana Hemophilia and Thrombosis Center, Inc. Xarelto users do not have to monitor their intake of certain foods.
Dosing of warfarin varies from patient to patient based on age, diet and other factors, and warfarin patients must have regular blood tests to make sure they’re taking the right dose. The tests check how long it takes for their blood to clot, NPS MedicineWise explains. If a person’s blood levels are too high, a physician may adjust the dosage of warfarin to avoid potentially fatal bleeding.
Patients are not required to periodically monitor their blood levels while taking Xarelto. However, this distinction has led to serious and traumatic bleeding situations in numerous patients, including death.
Antidote to Stop Internal Bleeding
Warfarin has an antidote – vitamin K – if a patient’s blood levels rise too high. There is no antidote for the effects of Xarelto if a patient is bleeding. As a result, Xarelto patients have died from unstoppable bleeding or had to have an extended hospital stay to stabilize a bleeding event. An adjustment to their dosage of Xarelto might have changed the outcome of the situation, but many Xarelto patients were left unaware and in danger of bleeding to death.
People have filed lawsuits against manufacturers Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals unit for their failure to remove the potentially unsafe drug from the market or warn patients to check their blood levels to determine their risk of bleeding.
Speak to Anapol Weiss if you've suffered a serious bleeding event that led to extended hospitalization or the death of a loved one while taking Xarelto.