Greg Jones Law Blog


Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed Over Dabigatran AF Bleeding Risks

Drug manufacturer Boehringer Ingelheim is being sued by plaintiff B. Jean Tonioli amid claims that the company’s drug Dabigatran (brand name Pradaxa) caused the wrongful death of her husband when he started bleeding uncontrollably after taking the pills to treat his AF. The decedent’s family — Jason Tonioli, Kristin Brandenburg, Karen Wilson and Jennifer Tonioli Anderson — have also joined the lawsuit.

This lawsuit was filed on June 27, 2013 in the Second Judicial District Court in the State of Utah. On July 17, 2013, the defendants filed a notice of removal, requesting that the case be transferred instead to the federal court in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah. The complaint states that Robert C. Tonioli started taking Pradaxa for his atrial fibrillation (AF) on March 4, 2011. During his vacation on June 26, 2011, Tonioli was sent to the hospital after suffering from stomach pains and convulsions. He was diagnosed with a bowel obstruction that caused internal bleeding. It is believed that Tonioli’s Pradaxa use caused his internal bleeding and prevented his being able to be treated for his bowel obstruction because of the Pradaxa’s tendency to cause even more unstoppable bleeding. Given blood infusions instead, Tonioli eventually died on June 27 from internal bleeding.

AF, in which patients experience a rapid or fluttering heartbeat, is treated with other anticoagulant medications like Multaq as well. Multaq is made by Sanofi-Aventis and has been linked to serious side effects including a worsening of the heart condition, liver failure and lung toxicity. It is for this reason that the FDA has recommended that doctors only prescribe Multaq if all other medications fail to work.

If you or a loved one has suffered from liver failure or a worsening heart condition after being treated with Multaq, contact the attorneys at Greg Jones today for a free consultation. I am experienced at fighting Multaq lawsuits and may be able to help you recover money for your injuries.



Australian Study Highlights Birth Defects Risks Associated with Epilepsy Medication

According to a new Australian study, there may be hope for pregnant women with epilepsy to lessen the chance of their babies having birth defects that are commonly linked to anti-seizure medications like Depakote and Topamax. The results of this study were published in the September 2013 issue of Neurology.

The experts at The Royal Melbourne Hospital have established a link between Depakote use and babies being born with spina bifida. Royal Melbourne Hospital epilepsy specialist and head of the Department of Medicine at the University of Melbourne, Professor Terry O’Brien, said that doctors are afraid of the birth defects risks associated with Depakote use.

“For many women on epilepsy medication, the desire to start a family can be fraught with fear that they could have a baby with a range of disabilities or malformations,” O’Brien said. “Previous studies have shown a strong relationship between the dose of Valproate (Depakote) taken and the risk of the child having a birth defect. However, for many women, Valproate is the only drug that will help control their seizures.”

The study is suggesting that offering epileptic women a smaller dosage of drugs like Depakote or Topamax might significantly lower the risk of their babies being born with a birth defect.

“Through our research, we now know that by reducing the dose taken in the first trimester of pregnancy, the risk of having a baby with spina bifida or hypospadias will be greatly reduced,” O’Brien adds.

Spina bifida is not the only birth defect that is linked to Depakote and Topamax. Other conditions such as PPHN, oral clefts, neural tube defects and heart, lung and brain defects are also linked to the use of these anti-seizure medications. If your baby was born with birth defects after in-utero exposure to Topamax, contact attorney Greg Jones today for a free consultation. I am experienced at fighting Topamax lawsuits and may be able to help you recover money for your child’s injuries.



Study Epilepsy Rates Not As High in Hispanic Immigrants as General Population

GregJonesLaw_11Q50_2013-09-04_Wed_Study: Epilepsy Rates Not As High in Hispanic Immigrants as General Population

Study: Epilepsy Rates Not As High in Hispanic Immigrants as General Population

According to a new study conducted by researchers at the University of Arizona (UA), newly-arrived immigrants of Hispanic origin do not have epilepsy at as high a rate as the non-Hispanic population. The study was funded by the Centers for Disease Control.

During the study, the researchers analyzed information collected from the investigated epilepsy rates among the Hispanic population along the border between Arizona and Mexico. They found that Hispanics in this area suffered half of the amount of epilepsy than was experienced by their non-Hispanic neighbors. This is said to be a “dramatic reversal of expectations” by the university.

Dr. David Labiner, director of the Arizona Comprehensive Epilepsy Program and head of the neurology department in the UA College of Medicine, mentioned earlier studies that were similar but took place by analyzing American participants in Los Angeles, Atlanta and New York as showing proof that contradicts the new information.

“The starting point [for the study] was the observation that in virtually all studies that had been done, minority populations tend to have higher prevalence of epilepsy, but none had been done in a border setting. Most had been done in cities,” he commented.

Labiner does not know why this has happened but he did suggest that the “healthy immigrant effect” may be why. The healthy immigrant effect is a term that is used to describe how those immigrants who make their journeys successfully do so because they are healthier than the general public. He also suggests that the immigrant’s language, acculturation and stigma may also help to lessen the epilepsy rates in the Hispanic population along the American border.

While this study may be interesting, it does not change the fact that millions of people worldwide still suffer from the condition. Epilepsy is often treated with various anti-seizure medications like Topamax. Topamax has been linked to an increased risk of suicide and suicidal thoughts as well as birth defects in women whose babies are exposed to the drug in-utero. Some of those birth defects linked to Topamax use during pregnancy include cleft lips, cleft palates, genital defects and other birth malformations.

If your baby was born with birth defects after in-utero exposure to Topamax, contact attorney Greg Jones today for a free consultation. I am experienced at fighting Topamax lawsuits and may be able to help you recover money for your child’s injuries.



Dabigatran Lawsuit Filings Reach 1,343 and Counting

As of August 15, 2013, the number of lawsuits filed over the bleeding risks associated with the use of Dabigatran (Pradaxa) reached 1,343 that are currently pending in MDL No. 2385. This MDL is currently underway in U.S. District Court, Southern District of Illinois.

Pradaxa is currently manufactured by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals. The pill is an anticoagulant medication that is used to treat heart complications like atrial fibrillation (AF). The drug is used to help prevent strokes in AF patients. This MDL began when in June, a woman filed a lawsuit in Missouri Eastern District Court that claimed that her husband’s excessive internal bleeding was caused by the use of Pradaxa. He died from the complications in February 2013.

The bleeding risks linked to Pradaxa use have been reported in various studies. The results of the studies came as a blow to the manufacturers because the drug was originally intended to replace the commonly-used Warfarin. Pradaxa was also said to be safer because the drug did not have to be used as often as Warfarin and required less monitoring during use. However, the uncontrollable bleeding risks linked to the pills proved that Pradaxa was far more dangerous than Warfarin because it cannot be undone. With Warfarin use, vitamin k is known to help stop the bleeding linked to the pills’ use, but it doesn’t work with Pradaxa. These risks have caused thousands of users to file lawsuits against the manufacturers for failing to properly warn the public and healthcare professionals of the dangers linked to the drug’s use.

AF is a common heart condition that affects millions of people worldwide. The condition is characterized with patients experiencing irregular heartbeats and flutters. AF is treated with anticoagulant medications like Multaq. Multaq is made by Sanofi-Aventis and has been linked to serious side effects including a worsening of the heart condition, liver failure and lung toxicity. It is for this reason that the FDA has recommended that doctors only prescribe Multaq if all other medications fail to work.

If you or a loved one has suffered from liver failure or a worsening heart condition after being treated with Multaq, contact the attorneys at Greg Jones today for a free consultation. I am experienced at fighting Multaq lawsuits and may be able to help you recover money for your injuries.



Study Oral Propafenone Just as Effective as Amiodarone for Atrial Fibrillation

A new study has found that oral Propafenone may work just as well as IV Amiodarone in converting recent-onset atrial fibrillation (AF) to sinus rhythm — and perhaps even faster. The results of this study were reported July 29th at the International Academy of Cardiology 18th World Congress on Heart Disease in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

“This is particularly important in countries with limited resources, in which the number of antiarrhythmic medications available, especially in small and remote hospitals, is quite limited. Having an oral regimen as good as the parenteral regimen that acts faster is appealing and may also help cut the expenses of a long hospital stay,” said the study’s lead investigator Dr. Hesham S. Taha of Cairo University in Cairo, Egypt, in an email to Reuters Health.

Taha and his team conducted their study by using a randomized trial to compare the efficacy and speed of conversion of recent onset AF by oral Propafenone against IV Amiodarone. For each of the study’s 50 participants, the onset of the AF had occurred within 48 hours. What they found was that the patient’s AF was converted to proper sinus rhythm in 88 percent of the patients taking the IV Amiodarone and 84 percent in the patients using Propafenone. However, it should be noted that the conversion took 9 hours for those taking Amiodarone and 3 hours for those taking the Propafenone. There weren’t many side effects in either group.

“This real-life study answers the practical and frequently-asked question as to which antiarrhythmic medication to use in patients with recent onset atrial fibrillation in whom a rhythm control strategy is chosen,” said Taha.

AF is also treated with various different anticoagulant medications. AF is a condition that is characterized by patients suffering from fluttering heartbeats and irregular heartbeats. One of those anticoagulant drugs used is Multaq. Multaq is made by Sanofi-Aventis and has been linked to serious side effects, including a worsening of the heart condition, liver failure and lung toxicity. It is for this reason that the FDA has recommended that doctors only prescribe Multaq if all other medications fail to work.

If you or a loved one has suffered from liver failure or a worsening heart condition after being treated with Multaq, contact the attorneys at Greg Jones today for a free consultation. I am experienced at fighting Multaq lawsuits and may be able to help you recover money for your injuries.



Study Removing Half of the Brain Can Stop Childhood Seizures

According to a new study, a surgical procedure may stop children from suffering from seizures. This surgery, called a hemispherectomy, actually involves the removal of half of the child’s brain.

For the study, scientists analyzed data collected from the medical records of epileptic patients who had undergone the surgery. What they found was that 56 percent of those patients stopped having seizures. The results of this study were published in the journal Epilepsia. It should be noted that only a small number of people with epilepsy are eligible for a hemispherectomy due to its radical nature, and that the recovery time can be lengthy for some patients. Almost 60 percent of the children who had the surgery were also able to attend schools with help and as many as 42 percent of the kids who were 6 years old or older could read relatively well after having the surgery.

“Given that if you had not done the intervention, most of these kids would be so severely disabled, the results are actually pretty positive,” said Dr. Gary Mathern, professor of neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Of course, while this invasive surgery may stop seizures, it must only be performed on the seriously affected. Currently, epilepsy patients are treated with anti-seizure medications like Topamax. Topamax is known to cause birth defects in babies exposed to the drug in-utero. Topamax has been linked to an increased risk of suicide and suicidal thoughts as well. Some of those birth defects linked to Topamax use during pregnancy include cleft lips, cleft palates, genital defects and other birth malformations. It is side effects like these that have so many people looking for alternative treatments for epilepsy. Various surgical procedures are available, as well as different types of medications. However, most epilepsy treatments can be harmful to take or even habit-forming.

If your baby was born with birth defects after in-utero exposure to Topamax, contact attorney Greg Jones today for a free consultation. I am experienced at fighting Topamax lawsuits and may be able to help you recover money for your child’s injuries.



New Dabigatran Lawsuit Filed

A new plaintiff, Edward Rader, has filed a lawsuit against drug maker Boehringer Ingelheim over side effects linked to the use of the anticoagulant atrial fibrillation medication Dabigatran (Pradaxa). The plaintiff is accusing the company of failing to warn the public and healthcare professionals of the serious adverse side effects linked to the pills.

Dabigatran, once viewed as a safer alternative treatment to the long-used AF drug Warfarin, has been linked to excessive and irreversible bleeding. At the moment, there is no way to effectively stop the bleeding, and many patients die as a result of it. The plaintiff is seeking punitive damages as well as compensatory damages. Rader’s complaint explains that he was hospitalized after taking Pradaxa on November 11, 2011. The drug that Pradaxa was meant to replace has also linked been linked to bleeding, but the difference is that the bleeding caused by that drug, Warfarin, can often be stopped with vitamin K. Studies have shown that Pradaxa patients are five times more likely to die due to bleeding than those taking Warfarin. This is why so many patients are now filing lawsuits against the manufacturers amid claims that the company has tried to hide this from public and healthcare professionals.

Numerous anticoagulants are often used to treat AF patients. One of the other drugs was Multaq. Multaq is made by Sanofi-Aventis and has been linked to serious side effects, including a worsening of the heart condition, liver failure and lung toxicity. It is for this reason that the FDA has recommended that doctors only prescribe Multaq if all other medications fail to work.

If you or a loved one has suffered from liver failure or a worsening heart condition after being treated with Multaq, contact the attorneys at Greg Jones today for a free consultation. I am experienced at fighting Multaq lawsuits and may be able to help you recover money for your injuries.



Study Salt may Trigger Epileptic Seizures

According to a new study conducted by researchers at McGill University, table salt or sodium may trigger the changes in the kainite receptor in the brain that cause seizures in epileptics. The results of this study are published in the journal Nature Structural & Molecular Biology.

Professor Derek Bowie and his team at McGill’s Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics teamed up with researchers at the University of Oxford to offer a different perspective on how the brain sends information, which could help scientists find a new target for the development of new drugs. When it comes to epilepsy, the researchers were looking at kainite because the activity it causes in the brain is very excessive, so the drugs developed with this target in mind would seek to balance out the kainite activity.

“It has been assumed for decades that the ‘on/off’ switch for all brain receptors lies where the neurotransmitter binds,” says Bowie, who also holds a Canada Research Chair in Receptor Pharmacology. “However, we found a completely separate site that binds individual atoms of sodium and controls when kainate receptors get turned on and off.”

Sodium targets kainite receptors specifically, which means that drugs would have to be created with stimulating the switch in the brain rather than anywhere else. This is good because the drugs developed would not target anything else and could thus be more effective.

“Now that we know how to stimulate kainate receptors, we should be able to design drugs to essentially switch them off,” says Bowie.

Epilepsy is a condition that causes seizures and affects millions of people worldwide. The condition is treated with various medications including Topamax. Topamax has been linked to an increased risk of suicide and suicidal thoughts, as well as birth defects in women whose babies are exposed to the drug in-utero. Some of those birth defects linked to Topamax use during pregnancy include cleft lips, cleft palates, genital defects and other birth malformations.

If your baby was born with birth defects after in-utero exposure to Topamax, contact attorney Greg Jones today for a free consultation. I am experienced at fighting Topamax lawsuits and may be able to help you recover money for your child’s injuries.



Dabigatran Lawsuit Filed Excessive Bleeding Cited

After a man died from excessive and irreversible bleeding after taking Dabigatran, his wife filed a lawsuit on July 12 in the U.S. District Court of Eastern Missouri (St. Louis). The plaintiff, Brenda Medley, is suing on behalf of her deceased husband, Howard Thomas Medley.

The complaint states that Medley died after suffering from severe internal bleeding while taking Pradaxa, the brand name for the medication. The plaintiff is also accusing the manufacturers of the drug, Boehringer Ingelheim, of being negligent in the marketing of the potentially deadly pills. Howard Medley first began taking Dabigatran in April 2011. He took the pills for about a year and half as part of a treatment for atrial fibrillation. By October 2012, Medley suffered from acute blood loss with iron deficiency. He died on February 22, 2013 after having blood transfusions to try to correct the bleeding.

AF is a condition that is characterized by patients suffering from fluttering and irregular heartbeats. The condition is treated with various prescription medications including anticoagulants. Dabigatran was originally marketed as a safer alternative to using Warfarin. The drug is used to help prevent strokes in AF patients, but numerous studies have revealed that Dabigatran also causes excessive and irreversible bleeding. One of the other drugs was Multaq. Multaq is made by Sanofi-Aventis and has been linked to serious side effects including a worsening of the heart condition, liver failure and lung toxicity. It is for this reason that the FDA has recommended that doctors only prescribe Multaq if all other medications fail to work.

If you or a loved one has suffered from liver failure or a worsening heart condition after being treated with Multaq, contact the attorneys at Greg Jones today for a free consultation. I am experienced at fighting Multaq lawsuits and may be able to help you recover money for your injuries.



Analysis More Patients Consistently Take Dabigatran Than Warfarin

According to a recent analysis of U.S. administrative data, patients that have nonvalvular atrial fibrillation (AF) who are being treated with Dabigatran are more persistent when it comes to taking their medication than patients who are being treated with Warfarin. The results of this analysis have been published online in the August 6, 2013 edition of Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

In this study, researchers discovered that 63 percent of AF patients taking Dabigatran were still taking the drug when the follow-up study was conducted after a year. This is in comparison to the 39 percent of Warfarin users who were still taking their medication.

“In this retrospective study of newly-diagnosed nonvalvular AF patients initiating treatment with Dabigatran vs. Warfarin using a large claims database, we found consistently higher persistence with therapy in those treated with Dabigatran at six, nine and 12 months,” writes lead author Dr. Martin Zalesak (Trinity Partners, Waltham, Mass.) and colleagues. “As in previous studies of oral anticoagulant therapy, we found persistence to increase with increasing patient’s age and stroke risk and persistence to decrease with increasing risk of hemorrhage.”

For the study, the persistence was measured by the length of time from the start of a patient’s treatment through to when the patient stopped taking the drugs. Researchers looked at whether a patient skipped a treatment or failed to refill the prescription. If the patient didn’t refill the prescription within six months, it was assumed that he or she had stopped treatment. This was also the case if the patient switched to a different type of therapy.

AF is a condition that is characterized by patients suffering from fluttering and irregular heartbeats. The condition is treated with various prescription medications including anticoagulants. One of those drugs was Multaq. Multaq is made by Sanofi-Aventis and has been linked to serious side effects, including a worsening of the heart condition, liver failure and lung toxicity. It is for this reason that the FDA has recommended that doctors only prescribe Multaq if all other medications fail to work.

If you or a loved one has suffered from liver failure or a worsening heart condition after being treated with Multaq, contact the attorneys at Greg Jones today for a free consultation. I am experienced at fighting Multaq lawsuits and may be able to help you recover money for your injuries.


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