New UCLA Study Examines the Risk of Blood Thinners for Intra Cranial Hemorrhage

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The American Medical Association’s official publication this week released a new study that adds further discussion to the safety of new-style anticoagulant drugs for those with atrial fibrillation. Specifically, it addressed whether they are more likely to cause intra-cranial hemorrhage.

For over 50 years, doctors prescribed warfarin for patients with atrial fibrillation to prevent blood clots and strokes. However, with severe diet restrictions and the requirement of regular blood testing, many sought an alternative.

Three newer style blood thinners entered the market beginning in 2010, including Bayer and Johnson & Johnson’s Xarelto, Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Eliquis and Boehringer Ingelheim’s Pradaxa. Since then, they’ve seen blockbuster success.

However, they’ve also been under fire as they rack up thousands of reports of patient internal bleeding injuries and deaths.

Chiefly, experts have warned that the new drugs may not be as safe as warfarin since they don’t have the safety net of an emergency bleeding antidote. Some also say they’re up to 48% more likely to cause internal bleeding.

Enter the latest study, led by Dr. Paul Vespa at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. Doctors there followed a total of 6 studies and more than 57,000 patients using either Pradaxa, Xarelto or Eliquis.

They found that the newer blood thinners may be less likely to cause brain bleeding than their older counterparts.

The timing of the study is interesting, as Boehringer just completed a $650 million settlement for over 4,000 patients injured or killed by Pradaxa bleeding. Next up are lawsuits against Xarelto, which have now been relocated to a centralized federal court to handle the volume.

Lawyers believe Bayer and J&J will ultimately be held liable as well to those injured from Xarelto bleeding, since they didn’t clearly warn of the risks of emergency bleeding.

At this time, it is not apparent whether any doctors that participated in the latest study received funding from the drug manufacturers. However, DrugNews will pursue more information on this research as well as the pending litigation.

For more updates, or to speak with a lawyer about any bleeding connected to Xarelto or Eliquis, we can be reached 24 hours a day.



Vespa, P. Oral Anticoagulants and the Risk of Intracranial Hemorrhage. Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA. (December 17, 2014). Retrieved from


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