If your physician has prescribed an anticoagulant known as warfarin to reduce your risk for blood clots, stroke, or heart attack, then you may be at risk for dangerous adverse reactions. While some of these reactions and side effects are mild, others may result in life-threatening illnesses and long-term disability. Here are some facts about warfarin and how it may raise your risk for illness:
Contributing Risk Factors
Certain people may be at a higher risk of developing serious illness or disability as a result of taking warfarin. These people may include elderly individuals, those with liver problems or renal failure, people who have gastrointestinal disease, and those with anemia.
The most common adverse reaction to warfarin is dangerous bleeding and may it be more common in those who take larger doses of the medication, take it for long periods of time, or who take it in conjunction with other "blood thinning" medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen. In addition, taking certain dietary supplements such as garlic, fish oil, magnesium, or omega-3 fatty acids may also intensify the anticoagulant effects of warfarin, as these supplements may affect your blood platelets so that it takes your blood longer to clot.
While warfarin is typically prescribed to reduce the risk for stroke, it may also raise the risk for certain types of strokes known as intracranial hemorrhages or cerebral hemorrhages. These strokes are also known as brain bleeds, and symptoms include severe headache, one-sided paralysis or weakness, seizures, vomiting, vision loss, and inability to speak. While people can recover from brain hemorrhages, recovery is usually slow and often incomplete.
Recovery often involves months of physical, occupational, and speech therapy, and while these restorative treatments can improve muscle tone, gait, strength, speech, and swallowing abilities, patients are often left with long-term disabilities. If you or someone you love has suffered a stroke as a result of taking warfarin, you may be entitled to a substantial monetary settlement.
Your long-term disability attorney will review your medical records, medical history, and other risk factors to determine if you should pursue litigation against the prescribing physician or the manufacturer of the drug. The attorney may also rely on the expertise of a legal medical professional such as a legal nurse practitioner, who will understand the doctor's charting and other medical jargon that may not be clear to lay people.
In addition to getting your long-term disability claim approved, you or your loved one may also be eligible to file a malpractice suit against the physician if he or she prescribed a dose of warfarin that was too high for you. Also, if your doctor failed to order routine tests to evaluate your blood's clotting status while you were receiving warfarin therapy, malpractice may have been committed.
It is crucial that you undergo routine blood tests when taking warfarin or other anticoagulant medication. This is because if your platelet, prothrombin, or thrombin levels are too low or too high, the medication will need to be adjusted.
Routine blood tests are usually carried out at least monthly on people taking anticoagulants, and if you suffered a stroke or other life-threatening event because your doctor failed to order the recommended blood tests, your attorney may recommend that you pursue legal action.
If you have taken warfarin to thin your blood and have suffered a major illness or long-term disability, make an appointment with a long-term disability attorney. He or she may provide you with a complimentary phone consultation to evaluate your case. If the lawyer determines that the physician or drug company was responsible for your disability or illness, your case will be filed as soon as possible.