The recent death of an elderly man who suffered a massive brain hemorrhage after a routine fall has added more fuel to the swirling controversy surrounding the blood clot preventing drug Pradaxa. In recent months Pradaxa has come under scrutiny after reports out of New Zealand and Japan suggested that the drug was responsible for dozens of internal bleeding incidents and multiple deaths.
Pradaxa is the first of a new class of oral medications called thrombin inhibitors to receive FDA approval for stroke prevention in patients suffering from atrial fibrillation.
The most recent death increases the cause for concern surrounding the drug, as what at first appeared to be a routine fall, rapidly developed into life-threatening and soontherafter a fatal condition.
Three doctors from the University of Utah who monitored and treated the man said that whe the 83-year-old patient arrived at the hospital he was fully alert and his neurological exams produced no great concerns; however, within two hours of his arrival CT scans showed extensive progression of brain hemorrhaging.
Doctors attempted to treat and reverse the hemorrhaging by traditional methods to no avail. Shortly thereafter the patient slipped into a deep coma and then passed away. Read the report published by the doctors in the online edition of the Journal of Neurosurgery here.
In the report the physicians expressed concern that internal hemorrhaging in patients taking Pardaxa appears to be irreversible with current knowledge and methods. They speculate that perhaps dialysis could be used to remove the drug from the blood but this was not an option for the patient.
Falls and balance related accidents are common among the elderly and the lack of an effective reversal method for hemorrhaging in patients taking Pradaxa should be cause for concern, as small routine accidents can quickly become life-threatening if internal bleeding cannot be controlled.
We will be closely monitoring the developments surrounding Pradaxa and will do our best to keep readers informed.