Product News and Recalls

Former teacher’s death blamed on Pradaxa

A story in the Houston Press spotlights the growing health concerns that many medical professionals have about the blood thinner Pradaxa, which manufacturer Boehringer Ingelheim acknowledges has been linked to more than 260 deaths.

The Houston Press article mentions the case of Loraine Franklin, an 80-year-old former teacher who died of an intercranial hemorrhage after she fell on her kitchen floor.

Franklin’s daughters say that if she had not been on Pradaxa, and had instead been taking a safer alternative on the market, “she would have left the hospital with a headache and a slight concussion.”

“Pradaxa turned a simple fall into a death sentence,” the article says.

Franklin’s daughters have joined a group of plaintiffs filing suit against Boehringer Ingelheim on the grounds that the company failed to adequately warn patients of Pradaxa’s risks.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Pradaxa as an alternative to warfarin (sold under the brand name Coumadin). Though generally safe and effective, warfarin obliges patients who take it to get frequent monitoring and adhere to strict dietary guidelines.

Pradaxa is more convenient, but it has no effective reversal agent for a traumatic bleeding event. When excessive and potentially deadly bleeding starts in patients taking Pradaxa, there’s nothing physicians can do to stop it.

In Franklin’s case, all doctors at the hospital could do was keep her comfortable as she died, according to the Houston Press.

Plaintiffs such as Franklin’s daughters allege that Boehringer Ingelheim rushed the drug to the market without taking adequate precautions, and has subsequently withheld information about the risks from people taking it.

“Pradaxa has been a boon to Boehringer’s bottom line,” the Houston Press article says. “But if Loraine Franklin’s daughters get their way, the drug will be off the market – just not soon enough for their mother.”

Patients should consult their doctors before making any changes in their medication. A consultation with a Pradaxa lawyer is also important if there are significant injuries.

See the article here:

http://www.houstonpress.com/2012-05-24/news/pradaxa-bleeding-lawsuits/