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Xarelto Update

Xarelto Update

Xarelto is an oral blood thinner prescribed for the prevention of strokes in patients with Atrial Fibrillation. Xarelto is marketed by Janssen Pharmaceutical and is manufactured by Bayer. Xarelto is commonly prescribed for atrial fibrillation, Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE).

There are currently about 14,000 lawsuits involving Xarelto alleging the increased risk of severe internal bleeding which can result in serious harm or death to Xarelto users. Because of the large number of Xarelto lawsuits, the federal court system consolidated the cases into a Multidistrict Litigation or an MDL. The first bellwether trial is scheduled for April 24, 2017. A second case is scheduled for trial May 30, 2017.

What is Xarelto and what are the Risks?

Xarelto is an anticoagulant/blood thinner designed to prevent blood clots. Patients who have an irregular heartbeat (a non-valvular atrial fibrillation) have an increased chance of developing blood clots which can, in turn, lead to strokes. Anticoagulants/blood thinners decrease risks of strokes, blood clots, DVTs and PEs. Warfarin and Coumadin were early available anticoagulants. Warfarin and Coumadin, while successful at lowering the risk of blood clots, require patients to be routinely monitored (as often as weekly) by a doctor together with blood/lab work, necessitate restrictions in diet and carry dangers of internal bleeding and brain hemorrhaging. Xarelto came onto the market in 2011 and was promoted as a superior alternative to Warfarin and Coumadin because it did not require regular blood/lab work and carried lesser risks of internal bleeding.

One issue, however, is that there are no reliable “reversal” agents that a Xarelto patient can be administered to counteract the effects of Xarelto during certain bleeding/hemorrhaging events. This is an apparent advantage to Warfarin and Coumadin.

Additionally, studies have emerged reporting that Xarelto also carries threats of severe, uncontrollable internal bleeding. In fact, a study published in JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association) in November of 2016 showed an increased rate of stroke, bleeding and death in patients using Xarelto.

What is an MDL?

A Multi-District Litigation (MDL) is often used when a large group of plaintiffs have substantially similar lawsuits filed against a common defendant or defendants. Generally, MDL’s are grouped together for efficiency and judicial economies of scale in the pre-trial stages of the lawsuits. In an MDL, one judge is appointed to preside over all pretrial activities, discovery and often settlement conferences. The judge may also schedule bellwether trials, as was done in the Xarelto cases. The appointment of one judge will (hopefully) offer consistent rulings across comparable lawsuits involving similar injuries and legal issues. Xarelto cases were originally consolidated into an MDL in December of 2014. The cases are before Judge Eldon Fallon in the Eastern District of Louisiana.

WHAT IS A BELLWETHER TRIAL?

Often times, when an MDL is created, the presiding judge will order the selection of and the trial of a few select cases to narrow issues and give some signal of how courts and juries feel about the cases. These first cases are called “bellwether” cases. A bellwether trial can often help to facilitate a resolution in a mass tort action or a multidistrict litigation (MDL). The first two bellwether trials for Xarelto cases against Bayer and Janssen Pharmaceutical are scheduled for April 24, 2017 and May 30, 2017.

Should You Contact an Attorney?

Patients who have been prescribed Xarelto and have suffered injuries from the anticoagulant (internal bleeding, uncontrollable bleeding, hemorrhage, blood clots, PE and/or DVT) can still contact an attorney about pursuing a claim/joining the MDL. Brett has evaluated and continues to evaluate Xarelto cases for clients. Brett has experience in MDLs and can offer insight into mass tort litigation. Brett will help you determine if you may be entitled to financial compensation for your suffering. Contact Brett H. Oppenheimer, PLLC for a free consultation using the Contact Form on this website. You can also give him a call at (502)242-8877 or email Brett at: brett@bluegrassinjury.com.

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