People who take a commonly prescribed drug to treat a heart-rhythm disorder should be aware that the medication has led to several hundred deaths and more than 100 lawsuits nationwide. Pradaxa, a drug used to treat atrial fibrillation, has come under intense scrutiny in recent months after it was shown to have irreversible and deadly effects.
The anti-clotting drug was released two years ago as an alternative to warfarin, a medication that has been around for several decades but comes with strong recommendations to closely monitor patients through frequent blood testing, diet control and drug regimens. Pradaxa has been heavily favored because it doesn't require this monitoring, and appears to be more effective in preventing strokes. The drug has earned its manufacturer, Boehringer Ingelheim, roughly $1 billion in sales. But it's also been linked to a frightening number of deaths. In 2011 it was blamed for more than 542 deaths and included in more injury reports to the FDA than any of the other 800 drugs monitored by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices.
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