Black, tarry-looking stools are a possible Pradaxa® side effect. As an anticoagulant (blood thinning) medication, Pradaxa® (dabigatran) has been linked to an increase in the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding. One of the symptoms of gastrointestinal bleeding is black, tarry-looking stools.
Gastrointestinal Bleeds and Black, Tarry Stools
Pradaxa® is administered to patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (AF), the most common type of heart rhythm abnormality. Such patients are at a greater risk of having a stroke than the general population, and the purpose of Pradaxa® treatment is to reduce the risk of stroke in these patients.
The makers of Pradaxa® (dabigatran), Boehringer Ingelheim, are very much aware of this Pradaxa® side effect. In fact, they instruct physicians in the Pradaxa® prescribing information about the occurrence of black, tarry-looking stools.
"Instruct patients to seek emergency care right away if they have any of the following, which may be a sign or symptom of serious bleeding:
- Unusual bruising (bruises that appear without known cause or that get bigger)
- Pink or brown urine
- Red or black, tarry stools
- Coughing up blood
- Vomiting blood, or vomit that looks like coffee grounds"
This severe warning about black, tarry stools ("seek emergency care right away ") is included because this symptom could be a sign of potentially life-threatening gastrointestinal bleeding. Tarry stools may be caused by any of the following:
- gastrointestinal bleeding
- aspirin use
- medication reaction
- peptic ulcer
- esophageal cancer
- H. pylori infection
How Black, Tarry-Looking Stools Happen
Feces can turn black or very dark because blood has been in the intestines too long, long enough that the blood is broken down by digestive enzymes. This condition, known as "melena," is usually due to bleeding in the upper digestive tract, such as gastrointestinal bleeds.
Consult a Pradaxa® Lawyer
If you or someone you love suffered a serious side effect of Pradaxa® (dabigatran), you may be eligible for compensation. To learn more, contact our Pradaxa® injury lawyers today. A qualified attorney will evaluate your circumstances and let you know if you have a legitimate claim. For a free evaluation, contact us today.