Pradaxa is a popular oral anticoagulant medication produced and extensively marketed by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., one of the leading pharmaceutical companies in the United States. Within one year from being introduced to the pharmaceutical industry, millions of Pradaxa prescriptions had been filled for patients, making it among the lucrative products of Boehringer, online sources say. Meanwhile, Pradaxa has also been associated with more than 500 cases of patient deaths, raising major safety issues within the medical community and prompting a series of Pradaxa lawsuits against the manufacturing company.
Also marketed under the generic name dabigatran, Pradaxa belongs to a class of drugs known as direct thrombin inhibitors. These anticoagulants primarily work by inhibiting the thrombin protein from forming blood clots, medical experts say. Apart from preventing blood clot formation, Pradaxa has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for minimizing stroke risk related to atrial fibrillation or abnormal and often rapid heart rate in affected individuals. In Europe and other countries, Pradaxa is also used as preventative treatment to blood clots in joint replacement surgery patients.
Less Bothersome Pradaxa Side Effects
The anti-clotting drug has been reportedly touted as the first promising replacement to warfarin, the only blood-thinning medication to exist in the market for more than a half a century before Pradaxa arrived on the pharmaceutical scene. However, as were other medications, Pradaxa also carries a string of side effects.
Less bothersome effects that have been reported to occur as a result of Pradaxa use may include itching or mild skin rash, nausea, heartburn, stomach pain, upset stomach, indigestion, and diarrhea. Similar to other blood thinners, Pradaxa intake may also cause easy bruising or unusual bleeding from minor wounds or scrapes, according to medical experts. In view of this health risk, elderly patients aged 75 and older, individuals with problems related to renal health, and those at risk of stomach or intestinal bleeding from ulcer are contraindicated from taking Pradaxa.
Adverse Health Risks Tied to Pradaxa Intake
Pradaxa has been the subject of several research studies, most of which have revealed a possible link between the drug and serious heart problems, including heart attack, chest pain, and heart disease symptoms, according to online media reports. After a year in the market, the anticoagulant has also been one of the most prominently reported drugs in the FDA’s adverse event database. In fact, over 800 adverse-event reports related to Pradaxa have been received by the FDA in 2011. Moreover, a drug surveillance group, known as QuarterWatch, has also documented nearly 3,800 adverse events related to Pradaxa that same year, more than 2,300 of which were related to fatal bleeding.
Nevertheless, the FDA reportedly indicated in a 2012 drug safety communication that the bleeding event rates tied to Pradaxa intake do not appear to be higher than those related to warfarin. This, however, did not prevent patients and their loved ones who claim of physical injuries and emotional distress from the drug to file a legal claim in federal courts.
Pradaxa Drug Maker Faces Federal Lawsuits
Germany-based pharmaceutical giant Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has been surrounded by over a thousand legal challenges brought in federal courts, according to online publications. In fact, all activities related to these lawsuits have been centralized into a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the US District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. Added information about safety issues and lawsuits related to Pradaxa are also featured on various personal injury law firm websites, similar to rotlaw.com by the Rottenstein Law Group.