The first Xarelto bellwether trial, originally scheduled to commence this month in New Orleans, has been pushed back to March due to a conflict with the NBA All Star Game, which is being held in New Orleans February 17-19. The trial is representative of the claims made in over 10,000 other Xarelto lawsuits currently pending in multidistrict litigation (MDL) in Louisiana.
What is Xarelto?
Xarelto is prescribed to patients suffering from atrial fibrillation (irregular heart beat) who are at increased risk of formed a blood clot in the heart, which can travel to the brain and cause a stroke. Xarelto thins the blood and lowers the chance of clots forming.
But since approval in 2011, Xarelto has receive two black box warnings from the FDA:
• In August 2013, Xarelto received a black box warning indicating that the premature discontinuation of Xarelto increases the risk of thrombotic events and spinal/epidural hematoma in patients.
• In March 2014, Xarelto received another black box warning stating that the optimal timing between the administration of Xarelto and neuraxial procedures in each individual patient is not known.
Xarelto and Uncontrollable Bleeding Events
Although all blood thinners increase the risk of bleeding problems, Xarelto has been linked to an increased number of uncontrollable bleed injuries, mostly because there is no approved antidote available for patients who use the medication, and many of the side effects have been severe because the bleeding cannot be effectively controlled.
Xarelto plaintiffs allege that they were not aware that the medication entered the market without an effective antidote and maintain that it was irresponsible of Xarelto manufacturers Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Bayer to claim that less monitoring was needed with Xarelto when, because of the absence of an antidote, more monitoring would be more appropriate.