It’s been 12 days since the attack. You were climbing up your stairs when you suddenly felt a sharp pain in your arm. Your vision went blurry and it felt as though someone was sitting on your chest. Fortunately, your daughter was home and called an ambulance. You were rushed to the hospital where you were told that you were having a heart attack. After undergoing emergency surgery (due to a blocked artery), and spending 11 days in recovery, you were finally about to be released. But first you had to have a lengthy conversation with your surgeon.
As part of the discharge process, your doctor explained that you would have to complete some physical therapy, as well as take some treatment medication. He told you that due to the fact that you were taking other medications, instead of prescribing you the blood thinner Warfarin to avoid blood clotting, he wanted you to try Xarelto.
Although you would generally take a doctor’s recommendation without much debate, you had heard rumors about Xarelto’s efficacy. Therefore, before agreeing to take the drug, you made sure to ask him the following questions.
How exactly does it work? How is it different than Warfarin? In his opinion, is it safer than Warfarin, or should you revisit the medication you’re currently taking in order to be able to take the more common of the two drugs?
Inner-workings of Factor X Inhibitor Drugs Such as Xarelto
The management of blood clotting is an extreme concern for doctors, surgeons, and patients alike. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average of 500,000 people suffer adverse blood clot effects every year. Fatal complications affect an estimated 17 percent of these suffers, or in other words, 100,000 of those who suffer from blood clots will most likely die as a result. Due to these alarming facts, blood thinners (anticoagulants) have become a necessary market for blood clot prevention.
As of five years ago, the most common anticoagulant used was Warfarin (Coumadin). However, due to concerns over the fact that certain medications and foods (those with high concentrations of vitamin K) can disrupt Warfarin’s potency, drug companies have been working on new anticoagulants that prevent clots without disrupting the body’s natural vitamin K production. Not only do these drugs, called Factor X Inhibitors, eliminate concern over medication and food problems, but they also allow doctors more options when prescribing a blood thinner. However, recent investigations into the function differences of these two drug types, has raised whole new concerns over the safety of X Inhibitors.
- Vitamin K antagonist
- Works by slowing down an enzyme within the naturally produced vitamin K (vitamin K1), in order to slow down the adhesion of slow moving platelets (prevent protein within the blood from bonding together and forming a clot)
- Process can be reversed or stopped with the introduction of normal vitamin K
- Factor X inhibitor
- Instead of changing the composition of the body’s vitamin K production, it works by preventing activity from the clotting enzymes prothrombin and thrombin, as well as the factor x clotting enzyme
- Rapid release and rapid response
- Process cannot be reversed or stopped if needed—as there is no antidote or combatant
Balancing Benefits, Risks, and Safety
Although factor X inhibitors have been widely publicized to control clots faster and more efficiently than vitamin K antagonists, the main concern with them is the lack of antidote. Since the drug focuses on the composition of the blood and controls the function of enzymes, instead of just removing a factor, there is no way to reverse the process if needed. This means that if you’re taking Xarelto and accidentally injure yourself, there is no way to stop the bleeding since the drug makes it impossible for clots to form and heal the wound. However, if you were taking Warfarin, the introduction of previously denied vitamin K will reverse the effects and allow the blood to clot and stop the bleeding.
Make sure your family and friends are protected by sharing this page with them via Facebook or tell them to contact us directly to discuss any potential questions or concerns they may have about drug effects. The consultation is free, but knowing your options for the future is worth a lot more than a phone call. Contact us today to see how we can help you and your family get the comfort, support, and compensation you need after suffering the effects of a defective drug.