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Pradaxa Tops As Cause Of Prescription-Drug Related Deaths

According to Safe Medication Practices, a nonprofit organization, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) received reports that 542 people died in 2011 due, at least in part, to taking the dangerous and defective drug Pradaxa. At over 500 fatalities in one year, the risk of death when taking Pradaxa is higher than all other medications. Only 72 warfarin-related deaths were reported during that same period. Pradaxa is an alternative to warfarin.

Pradaxa is a blood-thinner that is intended for patients with atrial fibrillation, a condition that causes blood to pool in the upper chamber of the heart that can lead to the formation of blood clots. Atrial fibrillation affects about 15 percent of people over age 80 and about three million people in the U.S.

Johnson & Johnson has also developed an alternative to warfaring, Xarelto, but some doctors believe that it is just as dangerous a drug as Pradaxa. Unlike warfarin, neither Pradaxa nor Xarelto have an antidote, or off-switch, to stop bleeding once it occurs.

There is some controversy, however, as to whether the drug itself is dangerous and defective or whether doctors that are prescribing it are just doing so incorrectly. Among risk factors that can lead to a fatal bleed for a Pradaxa or Xarelto patient are decreased kidney function and a history of gastro-intestinal bleeding.

Failing to order kidney function tests or to inquire about bleeding history before prescribing Pradaxa or Xarelto may be medical malpractice. Both Pradaxa and Xarelto are eliminated from the body by the kidneys; when kidney function is poor, too much of the anti-clotting drugs may build up in the body, increasing the risk of severe internal bleeding.

Source: Fox News, "Top heart doctors fret over new blood thinners," June 14, 2012

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