Blood Thinner Safety: What to Know When Taking Xarelto
Blood clots have the ability to prevent blood flow to patients’ organs such as the heart, lungs, and kidneys, potentially causing stroke and other life-threatening health conditions. There are many different medications on the market today that aim to reduce the risk of dangerous health conditions such as deep vein thrombosis, blood clot and stroke. In July of 2011, Bayer, in conjunction with Janssen Pharmaceuticals, began marketing Xarelto, a prescription anticoagulant (often called a blood thinner) used to combat some of these conditions.
Xarelto was initially approved by the FDA for prevention of deep vein thrombosis following knee and hip surgeries. Further approval was given in November of 2011 for the prevention of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation, and later in 2012 for prophylactic prevention of reoccurring clots. The medication was often marketed as a safer alternative to Warfarin, the anticoagulant industry standard. However, hundreds of adverse event reports have been filed by patients who were prescribed Xarelto. These reports indicate that patients experienced severe bleeding events in the form of brain hemorrhaging, rectal bleeding and intestinal bleeding, and because there is no antidote for the drug, some patients have died as a result of these events.
If you are prescribed blood thinners such as Xarelto, it is important to understand the risk of potential severe bleeding events. Additionally, it is just as important to understand safety measures that you can take, as well as the signs and symptoms of severe internal bleeding so that you may contact your medical provider as necessary.
Be Mindful of Exercise and Physical Activity
It is important that you speak with your doctor before beginning any exercise routine, and before undertaking any physical activities that could lead to impact, injury or bleeding. Patients who are taking blood thinners and experience even minor injuries are at a higher risk for severe internal bleeding. This includes minor cuts, injuries from a fall and bruises. When choosing to undertake an exercise or physical activity regimen, select not impact activities such as walking and light yoga.
Contact Your Doctor if You Experience Minor Injuries
Even minor injuries can result in sever internal bleeding. If you experience any trauma to your body or head, you should contact a medical provider immediately, even if you do not experience any apparent injuries. Additionally, if you notice deep purple bruising on your body, it is important that you are examined by a doctor, as this could be an indication that you are experiencing internal bleeding.
Be Conscious of Drug Interactions and Effects
Blood thinners may interact differently with other medications that you are taking. The best way to ensure your safety is to speak with your doctor before beginning any medications. When doing so, be sure to include any and all prescription medications that you take, as well as over-the-counter drugs. Similarly, there are certain vitamins and dietary supplements that may counteract with your prescription blood thinner. Discuss your current vitamin regimen and dietary needs with your doctor so that they can be certain that such items will not put you at an increased health risk.
At times, patients will forget to take a prescription medication and double the next dose as a supplement. It is important that you do not do so with Xarelto and other similar anticoagulants. If you are not able to take your medication, or you accidentally miss a dose, contact your health care provider to obtain guidance on how you should proceed.
While taking blood thinners, patients are more prone to severe internal bleeding that can potentially lead to injuries and even death. The best way to protect yourself from experiencing one of these events is to know the risks ahead of time, be mindful of what can increase your risk and speak to your doctor if you have any uncertainties about your health.