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Pradaxa vs. Coumadin

People who have been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (a heart defect where the two upper pumping chambers of the heart fail to contract rhythmically) or are otherwise susceptible to dangerous blood clots are, more than likely, taking an anticoagulant medication.

The most commonly prescribed, and oldest, of these drugs is Coumadin (also know as Warfarin).  Originally introduced as an effective rat poison, that’s right, medical practitioners found it to be an effective anticoagulant.  Coumadin has been shown to reduce the risk of stroke by inhibiting the body’s ability to clot blood properly and preventing dangerous clots from forming in the blood vessels that can travel to the patients brain.  However, as with most anticoagulants, Coumadin carries risks of serious side effects, most notably, internal (sometimes spontaneous) bleeding.  Additionally, dangerous interactions with antibiotics, psychiatric, and other drug classes  make monitoring and dosing Coumadin difficult.

Enter Pradaxa, the first direct thrombin inhibitor (fancy name for this type of anticoagulant) approved by the FDA in over 50 years.  Manufactured by Boehringer Ingelheim, initial testing showed Pradaxa to be more effective in reducing the occurrence of stroke, while carrying a relatively similar risk of internal bleeding with a higher dosage than that of Coumadin.  Pradaxa was approved with a “one size fits all” dosage of 150 mg and doesn’t require the constant monitoring that its’ counterpart does.

Perhaps as a result of the generic dosing and lackadaisical monitoring system assigned to Pradaxa, reports of serious side  effects associated with the new drug have been coming at an alarming rate.  Pradaxa has been shown to increase patient’s risk of heart attack by 33% over those taking Coumadin.  Older patients  have been showing a decline or severely reduced kidney function after taking Pradaxa.  And, while the relative increase in internal bleeding risk between the two drugs is similar, vitamin k acts an an antidote to Coumadin’s blood thinning effect while there is no antidote for blood thinning caused by Pradaxa.  In effect, there is no way of stopping internal bleeding while on Pradaxa short of transfusions and dialysis.

If you have been prescribed and are taking, or have taken, Pradaxa and have experienced any of the side effects outlined above, you may need to seek legal representation.  Call an attorney that is familiar with Pradaxa and the medical issues associated with it.

One Response to “Pradaxa vs. Coumadin”

  1. Juned says:

    Given that the time window for scecussful surgical intervention (meaning patient has reasonable chance of surviving and having meaningful neurological recovery) is one hour for acute epidural hematoma, and probably four, maybe six, depending, for acute subdural hematoma… Pradaxa is going to make a number of the family discussions re: risks and benefits of surgical intervention for acute SDH (which has vastly lower good outcome rates than epidural anyway) quite different.

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