The first lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson for the death of a patient who took Xarelto was filed in April of the year 2014. Since then other lawsuits have followed against the company, and many are seeking compensation from Johnson & Johnson and Bayer.
Xarelto belongs to the class of anticoagulants. It serves as a blood thinner. It is popularly known by its trade name of Rivaroxaban. One of its strongest promotional features as an NOAC (Novel Oral Anti-Coagulants) is its property as a blood thinner that does not restrict a patient to go through any dietary limitations. Its manufacturer has not let clear instructions that consumption of alcohol or any particular food intake may be treated as a contraindication. If Rivaroxaban or Xarelto has been prescribed by your physician, then it has to be taken under that physician’s guidance for as long as it is recommended and in the way instructions have been directed. This helps in preventing formation of threatening blood clots while the patient is recovered from his previous condition.
Approved by FDA
Xarelto has been approved by the Food & Drug Administration for the treatment of deep vein thrombosis as a prophylactic. Its main purpose is to prevent deep vein thrombosis among patients who have gone through knee or hip replacements to avoid the danger of pulmonary embolism. Besides treating venous thrombo-embolism, Xarelto also prevents various embolic events in terms of blockage of arteries through blood clots. Xarelto makes the blood thin and prevents blood from clotting and arteries from getting blocked. At the same time, it has to be remembered that patients who take Xarelto have to be extra cautious as they are prone to bleed profusely after taking this medication. Xarelto has no known antidote; when a patient suffers with any life threatening reaction as ma result of Xarelto and alcohol, the physicians may not be able to reverse or control that condition.
The Negative Impact of Alcohol when taken with Xarelto
Alcohol boosts up the risk of excessive bleeding when a patient has been prescribed coagulants. It is always recommended that the alcohol consumption has to be kept at the minimum levels possible while taking these medicines. The physician generally asks the patient to restrict the consumption of alcohol to standard pegs in a day. Binge drinking has to be avoided, altogether.
Drinking of alcohol does not drastically alter the International Normalized Ratio or the INR in a patient who is taking this medicine. The published data on Xarelto and alcohol does not state that the PT-INR tests would show in a threatening way when the patient consumes alcohol. It has been agreed upon by the physicians that a couple of pegs of alcohol in a day would not have a negative impact on the INR. Drinking large amount of alcohol in excess of three pegs while taking Xarelto would lead to a drastic increase in this ratio. This is because alcohol would interfere with the mechanism of action of Xarelto and the drug would be metabolized in a less rapid fashion in the body.
Xarelto and alcohol (in high doses) will decrease the International Normalized Ratio. Patients would require more dosage of Xarelto in such cases and it is not advisable. A study was done where it was observed that patients who were put on Xarelto or Warfarin and who drank moderate to heavy quantity of alcohol were not likely to suffer from excess anti-coagulation or have the INR readings above 6.0 than those patients who drank within moderate limits.
The Risk of Bleeding
Though there is not much evidence of the risk for bleeding with Xarelto and alcohol, the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has indicated that Xarelto and alcohol would increase the risk of internal bleeding with this kind of an interaction. Heavy drinking could result in formation of blood clots, internally. A study done about four years ago also indicated that patients who drank two or less pegs of alcohol a day when taking Xarelto or Warfarin (anticoagulants) did not suffer any internal bleeding. It went on to report that drinking moderate amount of alcohol kept the patients safe from bleeding or clotting of blood. Based on that report and the recommendations of most general physicians, it is safe to assume that there is no reason to avoid alcohol completely while on Xarelto. It could also be concluded that there is no indication of any dangerous interaction between Xarelto and alcohol if the latter is taken in moderate doses.