What is a hemorrhage?
A hemorrhage is a medical condition in which a person has an uncontrollable or rapid blood loss. Xarelto, made by Bayer, is designed to stop blood clotting, so it can make any injury, even the most minor, very dangerous. The drug works by affecting specific proteins in the blood that start the clotting process and blocks them. It can take up to 24 hours for Xarelto to leave your system, with the elderly having a harder time flushing out the drug.
There is no antidote for Xarelto, so doctors have no way to stop the bleeding immediately. This can make the situation in the hospital very dire. As these severe side effects pile up, some doctors are cautious to prescribe the blood thinner.
Types of Bleeding from Xarelto
Xarelto can cause several types of internal and external bleeding:
- Bleeding from the rectum
- Intestinal or abdominal bleeds
- Bleeding in the brain
Black Box Warning for Xarelto
Xarelto was issued a black box warning from the FDA for dangerous spinal bleeds, or epidural or spinal hematomas. A spinal hematoma a hemotoma between the spinal vertebrae and the outside lining of the spinal cord. Although hemotomas are considered a common problem, some forms can happen deep inside the body where they may not be visible.
Blood pooling in the spine can cause permanent paralysis. The black box warning label alerts patients that receiving spinal anesthesia (epidural) or undergoing spinal procedures (spinal tap) while taking Xarelto can lead to paralysis. A second warning was issued informing patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation that discontinuing Xarelto may increase the risk of blood clots and strokes.
What are the symptoms?
For an epidural hematoma, it is important to know the symptoms:
- Back pain
- Loss of bladder/bowel control
Sometimes, there are no noticeable symptoms associated with a large hematoma. This can be dangerous because if bleeding is inside the abdominal cavity, it can expand into a large size before it shows any symptoms. This happens because the hematoma spreads in a free space without pressing on any organs to cause pain or other symptoms including loss of bladder control. Depending on the location of the hematoma, a mass or lump can be felt.
What is the treatment?
For superficial hematomas, simple remedies at home can treat the bleeding. For these injuries, it is important to remember RICE.
I- Ice (apply ice or cold pack for 20 minutes at a time, 4 to 8 times a day)
C- Compress (compression can be achieved through elastic bandages)
E- Elevate (elevation of the injured area above the level of the heart)
For more severe hematomas, surgical drainage is a common treatment. Symptoms and location of the hematoma usually dictate what kind of procedure needs to be done.
Can a hematoma be prevented?
Preventing all types of hematomas is not entirely possible. People, especially the elderly, who take blood thinners or anti-platelet medications like Xarelto, falls are a common cause of hematoma. Falls can cause hematoma in the legs, chest, or brain. Attempting to prevent potential falls could lower the risk of hematomas.
If you or a loved one have been prescribed Xarelto, talk to your doctor before completely stopping this drug.
Contact us today at 1-800-214-1010.
Source: Rx List