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  • Writer's pictureRobert Danziger

The Determined Patient Does Their Best to Learn from the Lawyers!

If you are an insomniac and watch television, chances are that you have seen ads featuring lawyers asking you to contact them if you have been on a particular drug and have experienced some complication, such as bleeding. The main value of these ads for the determined patient is to determine why the lawyer thinks that the use of the drug may be contraindicated since known or expected side effects are not generally grounds for a lawsuit. However, there are times when drugs are used off-label, that is, to treat conditions for which they were not approved. Drugs also have known side effects that should be monitored so that if these occur, the patient can talk to their doctor about discontinuing the medication. Sometimes, lawyers have claimed that the patients have not been adequately warned about specific side effects, and that, too, can lead to lawsuits.

A prime example of this is what happened with Xarelto, a blood thinner used to treat atrial fibrillation, an irregular heart rhythm. Naturally, there may be some associated increased bleeding when a patient is on a blood thinner. The medicine’s half-life (the time that it takes for the concentration of the drug to decrease by one half in the body) is 5–9 hours. Thus, the drug should really be taken 2–3 times per day. However, Xarelto was marketed as a once-a-day drug, and the recommended dosage was what several lawyers considered a very high dose. The amount of the drug in a patient’s system would start high and then decline over the next 24 hours, and that led to excessive bleeding.

The determined patient who has used Xarelto or is currently using it could Google why lawyers are suing the manufacturer to get more details and then follow-up with their physician to determine whether there is validity to the suit and whether an alternative treatment might be safer. So while users of the medication might want to contact the lawyers seeking patients who experienced excessive bleeding, they will also want to look into what their options are. Continue using the medication only in lower doses taken more frequently, or change to another medication? At the end of the day, blood thinners can be tricky medications to work with, so as a determined patient, know the pros and cons of taking a certain drug as prescribed or in a different way. It may be that the promise of a once-a-day blood thinner sounds convenient but isn’t going to work for you.

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