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Pradaxa Death Highlights Bleeding Concerns

Caryn Jack5 years ago

The death of a man who suffered a large brain hemorrhage while taking the anti-coagulant Pradaxa has prompted concerns over the drug’s documented bleeding risks.

Man Dies After Taking Pradaxa

According to a recent report in the online edition of the Journal of Neurosurgery, an 83-year-old man, who was taking Pradaxa, was admitted into University of Utah’s medical center after a fall. Upon admission, the man was alert and responsive and his CT scans revealed “small, superficial areas of hemorrhage in his brain.”

Within two hours, scans showed progressive brain hemorrhaging and the man slipped into a coma; he died shortly after. The treating doctors concluded that when catastrophic bleeding events occur in Pradaxa patients, the damage appears to be irreversible.

Pradaxa and Catastrophic Bleeding Risks

Catastrophic bleeding is a known side-effect to the drug Pradaxa (dabigatran.) The drug was approved in 2010 as an alternative to warfarin. Pradaxa was expected to replace warfarin as it does not require the frequent blood work and strict diet that warfarin does. Both these anti-coagulants reduce the risk of stroke. 

At time Pradaxa’s approval, a study done by the manufacturer, Boehringer Ingelheim, showed that the risk of potentially fatal side effects (namely, hemorrhaging) seemed equal in both warfarin and Pradaxa. Since its approval in 2010, Pradaxa manufacturers have reportedly “received hundreds of reports of fatal bleeding in patients taking the drug.”

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