Pradaxa forces patients to do their homework
  • Mon, 06/18/2012 - 12:48pm

Pradaxa is proving to be as problematic as its predecessor, warfarin. According to Reuters last week, the Institute for Safe Medication Practices recently reported that Pradaxa caused 542 deaths reported to the FDA last year. This number surpassed all other medications, including warfarin with 72 deaths. The FDA approved Pradaxa in 2010.
As with any new drug, most patients do not truly know the risks associated with taking the twice-daily pill.
“The average patient doesn’t understand anything about the new drug, or what the risks are, or what other medicines he or she can’t take,” said Dr. Alan Jacobson of Loma Linda, California’s Veterans Administration facility, adding that painkillers can affect Pradaxa blood levels. So, he told Reuters, “The good news is that you have an alternative to warfarin. The bad news is that you can kill a patient as easily with the new drug as you could with the old drug.”
Reuters stated that it takes doctors a while to work out the kinks when prescribing new medication. In Pradaxa’s case, doctors are failing to ensure that a patient’s kidneys are working well, even though the majority of the drug is excreted in the kidneys. Patients with poor kidney function are at a higher risk of bleeding, blood clots and stroke. In fact, Dr. Kenneth Bauer told Reuters that even the lowest dose of Pradaxa can cause an overdose in patients with damaged kidneys.
Doctors should also ask patients if they have a history of gastrointestinal bleeding, since Pradaxa increases that risk.
“I have received a dozen phone calls from local colleagues in the last couple of months about bleeding on Pradaxa and have yet to find a single case where that bleeding was not related to improper use of the drug,” Cedars-Sinai cardiologist Sanjay Kaul told Reuters.
With all of the foregoing being said, researching the internet for what questions to ask your doctor and what tests you should undergo will go a long way toward keeping you from suffering unwanted side effects.


About the Contributor

Kaitlin Gill
I report on news regarding product safety concerns for individuals and families.

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