Benicar is a widely prescribed blood pressure medication which has been linked to a range of side effects and adverse medical conditions. Over 1,700 claims have been filed related to patients suffering a condition referred to as “spruce-like enteropathy.” This medical condition can cause severe gastrointestinal issues that require hospitalization for some patients. Since the drug was approved for commercial sale in 2002, it has become the most widely prescribed medication for high blood pressure in the U.S. Allegations in pending lawsuits filed against Daiichi Sankyo, the manufacturer of the blood pressure medication, indicate patients and their physicians could have taken alternative medications had they been adequately warned of the risk of the serious gastrointestinal condition caused by Benicar.
Our Benicar injury lawyers have the experience and expertise to take on large pharmaceutical companies when they put profits before patient safety. We are currently reviewing potential claims on behalf of consumers who have suffered spruce-like enteropathy or other serious side effects after taking Benicar. If you have experienced symptoms like general malnutrition, chronic diarrhea, nausea, and massive weight loss, you might have the right to financial compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other applicable damages.
How Benicar Lowers Blood Pressure
Benicar (also called Olmesartan) is manufactured and marketed by Daiichi Sankyo and Forest Laboratories. The medication is part of a class of drugs referred to as angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARB). The drug functions by inhibiting the angiotensin II hormone and blocking angiotensin II receptors. Certain patients experience blood pressure caused by constricting blood vessels triggered by this hormone and receptor site. This constriction along with the drug’s impact on other hormones that lower blood pressure causes the blood vessels to dilate. Although there are multiple ARB drugs on the market, Benicar is the only drug in its class to be linked to spruce-like enteropathy.
Benicar Side Effects and Injuries
Because the side effects of Benicar parallel those of celiac disease, the condition is often misdiagnosed. Sprue-like enteropathy limits the ability of the intestines to properly absorb nutrients. The disruption of the gastrointestinal systems from both disorders essentially cause an afflicted individual to suffer from starvation. Although the impact of celiac disease can be mitigated by a gluten free diet, this same change is ineffective in alleviating sprue-like enteropathy.
Benicar also has been linked to other serious health risks though these links are not as well established as those between the drug and sprue-like enteropathy. The FDA has examined studies suggesting an increased risk of cancer in certain patients. Two large clinical trials published in the European Heart Journal also have indicated patients with diabetes could be at an increased risk of experiencing a stroke or heart attack if they are taking ACE-inhibitors and Beta blockers. The potential link between cancer and heart problems and the drug are still under investigation.
Determining Whether You Have a Legal Claim for Financial Compensation
Individuals who have taken or are currently taking Benicar for hypertension should consult with a medical professional if they experience adverse side effects like gastrointestinal problems. Symptoms of sprue-like enteropathy include:
- Sudden and extreme weight loss
- Cardiovascular issues
- Chronic diarrhea
Scientific Research & FDA Warnings of Link Between Benicar and Spruce-Like Enteropathy
A study conducted by Dr. Josephy Murray found a link between Benicar and serious gastrointestinal symptoms. The 22 patients in the study taking Benicar were initially misdiagnosed with celiac disease based on symptoms that included substantial weight loss, chronic diarrhea, malnutrition, and nausea. When the participants in the study had gluten eliminated from their diet, the dietary changes did not alleviate the symptoms. Further, the 22 patients tested negative for tissue transglutaminase, which is used to diagnose celiac disease. Dr. Murray concluded the gastrointestinal symptoms were linked to the drug when discontinuation of Benicar relieved the symptoms. The results of the research were published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Subsequent results established forty more patients who developed sprue-like enteropathy while taking Benicar.
The FDA issued a warning that use of Benicar can cause gastrointestinal symptoms associated with sprue-like enteropathy on July 4, 2013. The agency specifically mandated the packaging be changed to include a warning of the link between use of the drug and the medical condition. The authors of the FDA study referred to the side effects of Benicar as “life-threatening.”
Stern Law, PLLC Offering Free Case Evaluation to Benicar Injury Victims
Our Benicar side effects lawyers at the Stern Law, PLLC are currently analyzing potential claims for compensation involving individuals who have experienced serve side effects after taking Benicar. Our Benicar side effect lawyers diligently pursue the maximum recovery for victims of defective pharmaceuticals. Call the Stern Law, PLLC today at 1 (844) 808-7529, or complete an online contact form for assistance.