Medical research is an intensively competitive environment in which there are incredible awards, both in terms of what new discoveries can benefit mankind and the potential for corporate profits. Find a new, effective medication and more patients are helped and more drug sales are generated. There is no question that many of us are far better off because of the development of new medicines but we should all be aware that there are risks involved and that some medications may have serious side effects.
Reuters News Service, for instance, recently posted a story about the dangers of new blood thinners, such as Pradaxa, that were supposed to be more effective stroke preventers than warfarin, which has long been a top-selling medication with its own set of problematic side effects. As the news agency reported: Learn more about the Pradaxa Lawsuits
But growing complaints of risks and deaths tied to the new crop of drugs have made some top U.S. cardiologists hesitant to prescribe them. Some are proposing a more rigorous monitoring regimen for when they are used.
Most concerns revolve around Pradaxa, a twice daily pill from Boehringer Ingelheim that was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in October 2010 to prevent strokes in patients with an irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation. It was the first new oral treatment for that use since warfarin was introduced in the 1950s.
“The good news is you now have an alternative to warfarin,” said Dr. Alan Jacobson, director of anti-coagulation services at the Veterans Administration (VA) healthcare system in Loma Linda, California. “The bad news is you can kill a patient as easily with the new drug as you could with the old drug” if it is not handled properly.
“The average patient doesn’t understand anything about the new drug, or what the risks are, or what other medicines he can or can’t take,” said Jacobson, citing interactions with common painkillers and other drugs that can alter Pradaxa blood levels.
Internal bleeding, strokes and deaths linked to the use of Pradaxa have been among the allegations contained in numerous Pradaxa lawsuits filed across the country. These allegations mirror some of the reports that the Food and Drug Administration has been receiving about problems with the drugs, including a reported 542 deaths attributed to Pradaxa use, according to published reports.
Many of these Pradaxa lawsuits have been consolidated before a federal judge in Illinois, who is now presiding over a massive pre-trial evidence-gathering process. The drug’s manufacturers recently asked the judge to dismiss the cases but were rejected in their legal efforts.