Approved in 1997, Plavix (clopidogrel) has long been marketed to the public as a superior drug for preventing blood clots and to reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. While claims were made that Plavix was better than aspirin in helping to prevent both conditions, studies showed that Plavix provided no significant benefit over aspirin. Additionally, Plavix is often ineffective at managing the risk of heart attack or stroke and may place patients at a high risk of bleeding complications.
What Is Plavix?
Plavix is a blood thinner that helps prevent the platelets in your blood from sticking together and creating a dangerous blood clot. It's most often prescribed after a stroke or heart attack, but it can also be used by people with certain heart or blood vessel disorders. Manufactured by Bristol-Myers Squibb in partnership with the French firm Sanofi, Plavix is the second bestselling drug in the world, selling for about $4 a pill and generating over $6.3 billion in annual sales.
Reported Plavix Complications
Although all medications come with the potential for side effects, Plavix users have reported a number of serious complications. The most concerning include:
- Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP). This Plavix complication can cause brain, kidney, and heart damage. Even short-term use of Plavix increases a patient's risk of developing this rare condition, which causes blood clots in small blood vessels throughout the body.
- Bleeding ulcers. A study in the New England Journal of Medicine reported that Plavix users developed 12 times as many ulcers as patients who were only taking aspirin and the popular heartburn pill Nexium. While not generally life threatening, bleeding ulcers are painful and often require a patient to be hospitalized for treatment.
- Heart attack, stroke, or death. In some patients, Plavix contributes to the very conditions it was prescribed to prevent. For example, the risk of a heart attack, stroke, or serious bleeding doubles in Plavix patients who also have high blood pressure or high cholesterol. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also found that taking Prilosec, Nexium, Prevacid, or Aciphex while taking Plavix essentially inactivated the drug's key anti-clotting enzyme.
Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi have been named as defendants in nearly 600 lawsuits filed by patients who experienced complications after taking Plavix. At the heart of these cases is the allegation that the drug failed to perform as stated and actually increased the risk of heart attack, stroke, or serious bleeding in some patients.
Their cases are supported by a growing number of studies that indicate serious problems with Plavix use. Additionally, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a boxed warning on Plavix indicating that 2 to 14 percent of the population can be classified as poor metabolizers of the drug, which makes the medication completely ineffective.
In addition to litigation initiated by consumers who've been harmed by Plavix, the drug's manufacturers are also being sued by the states of Hawaii, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, and West Virginia for falsely advertising that their product provided a superior alternative to aspirin and failing to inform the public about the risks associated with Plavix usage.
Are You Eligible for Compensation?
You are potentially eligible for compensation if you took Plavix and experienced a heart attack, stroke, or serious bleeding complications. Family members of those who experienced fatal Plavix side effects can pursue litigation on behalf of the deceased.
Obtaining legal representation is essential if you feel that you or a loved one suffered injuries caused by Plavix. The attorneys at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault believe the evidence suggests Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi are profiting from the sale of a risky drug that is being prescribed to patients unnecessarily. Schedule a free consultation at one of our six convenient office locations to learn how we can help protect your legal right to compensation.