Please Note: Schmidt & Clark, LLP, is no longer accepting Pradaxa lawsuits. If you feel that you may have a potential case, we urge you to contact another law firm adequately suited to handle your case.
The new blood-thinning medication Pradaxa (dabigatran) is rapidly becoming a popular alternative to warfarin (Coumadin), a blood-thinner that has existed since the 1950s. Unfortunately, there is growing concern about serious risks of heart attack and uncontrollable bleeding associated with Pradaxa. Many people were unaware that the blood-thinning effects of warfarin can be reversed with a dose of Vitamin K, but the effects of Pradaxa can only be reversed with 2-3 hours of dialysis. During a bleeding emergency, this could mean the difference between life and death.
What is the problem with Pradaxa?
When Pradaxa (dabigatran) was first approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2010, it was the first new blood-thinner approved by the FDA in decades. As with any new medication, sometimes the risks are not fully known right away. Pradaxa is the first major competitor to warfarin (Coumadin), which has been the most widely-used blood-thinner since the 1950s. Pradaxa is a simple, once-daily pill, but warfarin is a notoriously problematic medication that requires frequent blood-testing to adjust the dosage, and overdose can cause serious bleeding incidents.
Although warfarin has its disadvantages, one major advantage is that the blood-thinning effects of warfarin can be reversed with a simple dose of Vitamin K during a bleeding emergency. Pradaxa has no easy reversal mechanism during a bleeding emergency. The only way to reverse the blood-thinning effects of Pradaxa is with dialysis, which may take 2-3 hours. In an emergency, a patient using Pradaxa could be severely injured or bleed to death before dialysis takes effect.
Several doctors have raised concerns that the medical community was not fully informed of this risk when Pradaxa was released. Doctors from New Zealand published a study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology in February 2012, finding that 25% of bleeding incidents occurred because doctors prescribed Pradaxa to people over 80 years old with impaired kidney function. When a patient’s kidneys cannot remove Pradaxa from the bloodstream, this can lead to excessively high levels of Pradaxa and trigger a severe bleeding incident.
In another incident, an 83 year-old man who was taking Pradaxa died from minor head trauma after a fall. When he arrived at the hospital, doctors used conventional therapy to stop minor bleeding in his brain. Unfortunately, because the man was taking Pradaxa, traditional methods did nothing to stop the bleeding. By the time doctors realized he needed dialysis to remove Pradaxa from his body, it was too late. He ultimately suffered a fatal cerebral hemorrhage.
Louisiana Pradaxa Lawsuits
In August 2012, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) decided to centralize nationwide Pradaxa lawsuits into one federal court. The Pradaxa Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) is established in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, before Judge David R. Herndon. Within two months, the litigation has expanded involve more than 117 Pradaxa lawsuits and 130 plaintiffs.