Coumadin is a brand-name drug for a blood thinning medication known as warfarin. This medication is prescribed by doctors to patients who have developed or are at risk of developing blood clots in various places throughout the body. Since the medication is a blood thinner, it prevents clots from forming or worsening, and blocking areas of the body where blood flow is crucial.
It also prevents already-formed clots from traveling to area of the body where blocked blood flow is especially dangerous, such as near the heart and lungs. In general, it provides for ease of blood circulation.
The primary side effect of Coumadin is a higher risk of dangerous bleeding. This is true for people in general, but the risk is even higher under certain conditions. The following can increase your risk of bleeding while taking Coumadin:
- Being at least 65 years of age;
- Having a low blood count due to a medical condition;
- Having a medical condition that already causes potential unusual bleeding, such as: liver problems, kidney problems, cancer, and certain gastrointestinal conditions;
- Having high blood pressure;
- Taking other medications that have a side effect of potentially dangerous bleeding;
- Taking Coumadin for an extended period of time; or
- Being given an incorrect dosage of Coumadin
Dangerous hemorrhaging is not the only potential side effect of Coumadin. Some others include less dangerous unusual bleeding such as nosebleeds or unusually heavy menstrual bleeding. Some other possible side effects include:
- Pain or swelling;
- Headaches or dizziness;
- Pink or brown urine;
- Necrosis (tissue death);
- Severe stomach or head pain;
- Joint pain;
- Purple toe syndrome (caused by blood clots in the feet); and/or
- Vision changes.
Side effects are serious, and a doctor should consulted upon experiencing any unusual changes such as those listed above, or others, after starting Coumadin.
It is extremely important to note that Coumadin can cause birth defects, especially in early pregnancy. It is, therefore, extra important to notify your doctor of pregnancy or potential pregnancy if they plan to prescribe you Coumadin. This is also true in the case of breastfeeding.
Additionally, Coumadin can have negative drug interactions with some medications, supplements, foods and beverages. A doctor should always be aware of all your prescription medications so as to avoid these interactions, as well as over-the-counter medicines which can cause thinning of the blood, such as aspirin.
Foods containing high amounts of Vitamin K should be avoided while taking Coumadin, as well as garlic, black licorice and excessive alcohol consumption. Negative interactions can cause Coumadin to be less effective, and can potentially cause dangerous bleeding.
An injury from the Coumadin itself may give you ground to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the drug. There are a number of circumstances under which a Coumadin lawsuit may arise. These include:
- One of the side effects listed above, or other side effects not mentioned here, especially those that are serious or potentially fatal;
- Defective medicines that put patients at risk;
- Birth defects caused by Coumadin passing through the placental barrier, especially in the first trimester; or
- Overdose because of incorrect dosage or other medication errors.
Medical malpractice is also a potential reason for a Coumadin user to file a lawsuit. In this situation a couple of different issues could arise. First, a doctor could give an incorrect dosage which cause problems to the patient.
Second, it is very important to do regular blood work on Coumadin patients to make sure all is well. A doctor who fails in this duty, either by doing the blood work incorrectly or by not doing it regularly, may be liable for malpractice.
The issue of injury due to Coumadin use has been fairly widespread. As a result, class action lawsuits have been filed, in which numerous users of Coumadin who have experienced injury present their case in court as joint plaintiffs.
Class action lawsuits can be beneficial for this type of injury. This is because each individual plaintiff bears less of a burden (most financially and otherwise) than they would if they had to sue the pharmaceutical company on their own.
Any outcome of the trial in which the pharmaceutical company (whether they lose at trial or agree to a settlement) has to pay damages benefits all members of the class who filed the action. These awards can assist those suffering from Coumadin injury and who need financial assistance because of medical bills, lost wage, and damages for pain and suffering.
The elements of proving medical injury or medical malpractice can be complex. If you have suffered injury as a result of taking Coumadin, you may want to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. The lawyer can advise you, represent you in legal proceedings, and make sure that you have the best chance to succeed in recovering damages.