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Clinical Trials Link Xeljanz to Blood Clots in the Lungs
In a post-marketing study, Xeljanz was found to dramatically increase the risk of a blood clot developing and then traveling to the lungs to cause a pulmonary embolism, especially when taken at a high dose.
The study looked at 4,400 test subjects, all of whom have at least one cardiovascular risk factor, and was designed to compare the efficacy and safety of Xeljanz to a tumor necrosis factor inhibitor drug in people with rheumatoid arthritis.
The trial aimed to find out whether Xeljanz was more or less safe for people who have higher cardiovascular risks, and monitored their heart health and whether they developed malignancies or cancer.
Pfizer intervened in the study on February 19, 2019, to take participants off of the twice-daily dose of 10 milligrams. The decision was made after Pfizer was notified by the Rheumatology Data Safety Monitoring Board that a high number of participants in that dosage level were developing blood clots in their lungs and suffering pulmonary embolisms.
People taking the high dosage of Xeljanz were suffering pulmonary embolisms more than five times as often as people taking the tumor necrosis factor inhibitor drug. They were also suffering pulmonary embolisms three times as often as other Xeljanz participants in that trial and others like it.
Pfizer’s announcement was likely spurred by the FDA’s announcement about Xeljanz in February 2019, which warned the public of the potential for a blood clot reaching the lungs after taking the drug.
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What is a Blood Clot?
Blood clots are gel-like collections of blood that form in a person’s veins or arteries when blood changes from liquid to partially solid. Clotting is a normal function that stops the body from bleeding too much when you get hurt. However, blood clots that form in some places and don’t dissolve on their own can be dangerous to your health.
When a blood clot forms where it should not have developed, it is called a thrombus. The clot may stay in one spot (called thrombosis) or move through the body (called embolism or thromboembolism). The clots that move are especially dangerous. Blood clots can form in arteries (arterial clots) or veins (venous clots).
Blood Clot Symptoms
Deep Vein Thrombosis Symptoms
- Redness of the skin
Pulmonary Embolism Symptoms
- Difficulty breathing
- Faster than normal or irregular heartbeat
- Chest pain or discomfort, which usually worsens with a deep breath or coughing
- Coughing up blood
- Very low blood pressure, lightheadedness, or fainting
Treatment for blood clots depends on where the clot is in the body, and the severity of the condition. Blood-thinning medications are commonly used to prevent blood clots from forming or getting bigger. Thrombolytic medications can break up existing clots.
Catheter-directed treatments, such as percutaneous transcatheter treatment, are done by inserting a catheter into a blood vessel in the groin. The tube is moved to the site of the clot and used to break up the clot or deliver clot-dissolving thrombolytic drugs directly.
Surgical thrombectomy, in which the clot is surgically removed from the vein or artery, is often used in arms or legs, but can be used elsewhere in the body.
For patients who are at high risk of developing a deep vein thrombosis, preventive measures should be considered. In addition to or instead of blood thinners, intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC) devices can be very effective. A cuff is placed around the leg, where it periodically fills with air and squeezes, helping move blood toward the heart.
Get a Free Xeljanz Blood Clots Lawsuit Evaluation With Our Lawyers
The Pharmaceutical Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial attorneys that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Xeljanz lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new blood clot injury and death cases in all 50 states.
Free Xeljanz Blood Clots Lawsuit Evaluation: Again, if you developed a blood clot (pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis, etc.) after taking Xeljanz to treat rheumatoid arthritis, you should contact our attorneys immediately. Xeljanz patients may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses by filing a Xeljanz blood clots lawsuit and our Xeljanz Attorneys can help.