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Note: Thomas Law Offices is no longer accepting these cases. In 2017, U.S. courts ruled all existing cases in favor of the defendant.
Eliquis®, also known as apixaban, is an oral anticoagulant/blood thinner that’s only been on the market since 2012. It was brought to life under an aggressive advertising campaign which touted the drug’s supposed claim of being a superior alternative to warfarin (Coumadin) due to a lack of regular, necessary blood tests, diet limitations, and complicated dosing requirements. Due to this campaign, unsurprisingly, Eliquis® quickly became popular with doctors, making over $774 million in 2014.
New information, however, is now uncovering grim evidence suggesting that the drug wasn’t tested properly and that its manufacturers, Bristol-Meyers Squibb and Pfizer Inc., withheld necessary information regarding the testing results and the lack of an available antidote. More than one Eliquis® internal bleeding class action lawsuit has now been filed across the U.S. by patients who have taken Eliquis® and suffered from symptoms which resulted in uncontrollable bleeding and deep vein thrombosis.
What is Eliquis and why is it potentially dangerous?
Eliquis® (apixaban) is one of the newest oral anticoagulants (blood thinners) on the market and is used to reduce the risk of blood clots and stroke in patients undergoing knee/hip replacement surgery or with heart or blood conditions like atrial fibrillation (abnormal heart rhythm). Older anticoagulants like warfarin (Coumadin or Jantoven) require patient-specific dosing, regular monitoring, and a special diet, but none of these requirements are advertised as being needed when taking Eliquis.
Similar to other, newer anticoagulants like Xarelto® (rivaroxaban) and Pradaxa® (dabigatran etexilate), Eliquis® works by interrupting the blood-clotting process by blocking Factor Xa enzymes which allow blood clots to form. Because the new anticoagulants work differently than older blood thinners, there is no way to reverse the anticoagulation process once the drug is in a patient’s system. With drugs like warfarin, if a patient begins bleeding uncontrollably, a Vitamin K antidote can be given which stops the blood from continuing to thin. There is no such antidote with Xarelto®, Pradaxa®, or Eliquis®.
All anticoagulants can potentially cause serious side effects. The most serious side effects of Eliquis® in particular include:
- Uncontrollable bleeding (hemorrhage)
- Internal bleeding, including gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding
- Hemorrhagic stroke (brain bleed)
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
- Blood clots
- Bruising more easily
- Skin rash
One of the most dangerous side effects of taking Eliquis® or any type of anticoagulant is the possibility of experiencing a hemorrhage (uncontrollable bleed). In some cases, extreme internal bleeding or hemorrhaging can lead to death. The fact that there isn’t a way to reverse the bleeding process while taking Eliquis® makes it more dangerous than other types of anticoagulants like warfarin.
Why are Eliquis® lawsuits being filed?
While excessive bleeding is always a potential side effect of any anticoagulant, Eliquis® in particular was advertised as being safer than other alternatives. It wasn’t until September 2015 that the FDA required Bristol-Meyers Squibb and Pfizer Inc. to change the warning labels on the drug, making consumers and doctors more aware the severity of the associated bleeding complications. Bristol-Meyers Squibb and Pfizer Inc. didn’t even disclose the fact that Eliquis® doesn’t have an antidote during the drug’s original advertising campaign.
Multiple lawsuits across the United States have been filed against Bristol-Meyers Squibb and Pfizer Inc. stating that the company failed to disclose information regarding the severity of bleeding-related complications and the fact that an antidote doesn’t exist. Additionally, there is further evidence which suggests the company may not have disclosed all the facts from the drug’s clinical trials held back in 2012—including information about the side effects and the fact that one unreported death occurred.
Further evidence suggests that an FDA reviewer didn’t agree with the results of the clinical trials conducted by Bristol-Meyers Squibb and Pfizer Inc. The trial’s results were even delayed by a period of nine months. Other suspicions raised in more than one Eliquis lawsuit question the accuracy of the clinical trial results, stating that different copies of the report point to completely different statistics.