Pulmonary embolism occurs when a blood clot lodges in an artery of the lung, blocking blood flow to a portion of the lungs. According to the Mayo Clinic, the blood clots typically originate in the legs and travel up the body, through the right side of the heart and into the lungs. Xarelto is blood-thinning medication designed to help prevent blood clots and pulmonary embolism. However, recent research and patient experience have shown that use of this medication can actually result in blood clots and pulmonary embolism.
Facts about Pulmonary Embolism
Pulmonary embolism (PE) is usually linked with deep vein thrombosis (DVT) – blood clots in the deep veins of the legs or pelvic region. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report the following facts about PE and DVT in the U.S.:
- As many as 900,000 people a year may suffer DVT and/or PE.
- An estimated 60,000 to 100,000 Americans die from DVT/PE every year.
- Sudden death is the first symptom in approximately 25% of the people who suffer PE.
- Between 10% and 30% of people with PE will die within one month of diagnosis.
- One-half of the people with DVT will have long-term complications, such as pain, discoloration, swelling, and scaling of the affected limb.
- Approximately 33% of people with DVT/PE will suffer a second occurrence within 10 years of the first.
- Approximately 5% to 8% of the population has a genetic risk factor that increases the risk of thrombosis (blood clots in the circulatory system).
Symptoms of Pulmonary Embolism
Pulmonary embolism can be life-threatening or fatal. Mayo Clinic reports that approximately one-third of the people who have this condition, undiagnosed and untreated, do not survive. It can also lead to hypertension – blood pressure too high in the lungs and the right side of the heart – which can weaken the heart.
Symptoms of pulmonary embolism can vary, depending on overall health, the size of the blood clots, and how much of the lung is affected. Symptoms may include:
- Chest pain which may worsen when you cough, breathe deeply, bend, or stoop. The pain may also worsen with exertion, but will not decrease when you rest or lie down.
- Shortness of breath that appears suddenly and gets worse with any exertion.
- Cough that may produce blood.
- Pain and swelling of the leg, usually in the calf.
- Excessive sweating
- Cyanosis (clammy or discolored skin)
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
Research Linking Xarelto and Pulmonary Embolism
A QuarterWatch Report published by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) revealed a link between rivaroxaban (Xarelto) and severe blood clots. Researchers examining the growing number of adverse event reports with new blood-thinning medications Xarelto and Pradaxa found that the largest group of Xarelto cases involved younger patients (median age 66) who developed severe blood clots while taking the drug after hip or knee replacement surgery.
The report stated that venous, pulmonary, and other forms of thromboembolism – blockage of a blood vessel by a blood clot carried through the blood stream from the location where it was formed — were the predominant serious adverse events reported with Xarelto. During the first quarter of 2012, ISMP received reports of 158 cases of thromboembolism in people taking this drug.
Altogether, ISMP identified 356 reports of serious, disabling, or fatal injuries, for which Xarelto was the primary suspected cause. Researchers commented that oral anti-coagulants are among the riskiest drugs for outpatient treatment. They also stated that the number of reports of thromboembolism with Xarelto indicates that patients may be receiving sub-therapeutic doses, or there may be another efficacy issue with the drug.
Nationwide Xarelto Pulmonary Embolism Lawyers
At least one lawsuit has been filed against Xarelto manufacturers on behalf of a patient who suffered a stroke while taking the drug. Plaintiffs allege that the once-per-day dosing recommended by the company leaves the patient vulnerable to blood clots for a portion of day. The lawsuit was filed by the daughter of a Florida man with atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat) who died of a stroke 4 days after he started taking Xarelto to prevent it.
If you have suffered pulmonary embolism or lost a loved with Xarelto, Farah & Farah can help. Call us at (800) 533-3555 for a free case consultation. You may be entitled to file a claim for compensation for your losses, or a wrongful death claim, if you have lost a loved one. Our Xarelto attorneys believe that big drug manufacturers should be held accountable for the harm their products cause. We can help you seek justice and full compensation.