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Benicar (olmesartan medoxomil) is a popular drug manufactured by Daiichi Sankyo that is used to treat high blood pressure. The drug was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2002, and today, more than 10 million patients take Benicar every year. Benicar has been successful in reducing blood pressure in individuals who suffer from hypertension.
Unfortunately, Benicar has made headlines lately for severe complications that have been linked to the drug.
Many patients have reported suffering from gastrointestinal problems that resulted from the use of Benicar. Many times, patients are misdiagnosed as having a gluten intolerant digestive system, when they are actually suffering from sprue-like enteropathy. This condition is accompanied by chronic diarrhea, intestinal damage, and malnutrition, and can be very dangerous.
In 2014, the FDA made it mandatory that Benicar be packaged with a warning on its label stating the drug is associated with significant gastrointestinal complications.
If you have experienced adverse side effects from taking this drug, you should call a Benicar lawyer at our firm as soon as possible. Working with an experienced dangerous drugs attorney could make all the difference in the outcome of your case.
Does Benicar Cause Gastrointestinal Side Effects?
Studies have shown Benicar to be the cause of several complications ranging from mild to severe. Thousands of patients have suffered from gastrointestinal complications after taking the drug.
In 2013, the FDA issued a drug safety communication warning to the public about these side effects, and approved changes in the drugs’ labels to make sure these issues are clear.
The FDA reports that numerous, serious cases have been found, and cites research from the Mayo Clinic linking these drugs to severe gastrointestinal problems.
Benicar is linked to severe gastrointestinal side effects that may take months or years to develop. In some instances, gastrointestinal problems resulting from these drugs have been serious enough to require immediate medical attention or hospitalization.
According to the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders, gastrointestinal mobility is defined by the movements within the digestive system and the transit of its contents.
Functional GI and motility disorders cannot be diagnosed in a traditional way. No inflammatory, infectious, or structural abnormality can be seen by commonly used examination, x-ray or laboratory test. Problems include the nerves or muscles in any portion of the digestive tract and do not function in a coordinated fashion.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not yet issued a recall for Benicar despite the fact that the drug has been linked to dangerous side effects. In April 2014, the FDA made it mandatory that Benicar add a warning to its label informing consumers of the risk of gastrointestinal-related complications. Benicar is still prescribed today to millions of patients with high blood pressure.
Although Benicar has not yet been recalled, you can still pursue a lawsuit if you or someone you care about has been harmed by the drug.
Sprue-like enteropathy is an intestinal condition that can be very painful and can cause chronic diarrhea. As a result of having sprue-like enteropathy, patients can also experience severe weight loss and malnutrition.
In some cases, sprue-like enteropathy can be so serious that patients can die from it. One of the reasons that Benicar lawsuits have been increasing so much in recent months is because the symptoms of sprue-like enteropathy are very similar to the symptoms of celiac disease.
Since the conditions are so similar, many patients had accidentally been misdiagnosed as having celiac disease and are only now making the connection between their intestinal condition and their Benicar use.
Digestive Issues Associated with Celiac Disease
Digestive symptoms are most commonly found in infants and children, and they tend to differ from adults. These are some of the most common:
- Abdominal bloating and pain
- Chronic diarrhea
- Pale, foul-smelling
- Weight loss
- Irritability and behavioral issues
- Dental enamel defects of permanent teeth
- Delayed growth/puberty
- Short stature
- Failure to thrive
Adults are less likely to have digestive symptoms, with one-third experiencing diarrhea. Adults are most likely to have:
- Unexplained iron-deficiency in anemia
- Bone or joint pain
- Osteoporosis or osteopenia
- Liver and biliary tract disorders
- Depression or anxiety
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Seizures or migraines
- Missed menstrual periods
- Infertility or recurrent miscarriage
- Canker sores inside the moth
- Dermatitis herpetiformis
Benicar villous atrophy lawsuits are being filed for consumers who took this dangerous medication. There have been increasing complaints about Benicar causing villous atrophy.
By a mechanism that is not fully understood, Benicar causes villous atrophy. This occurs when the cell lining the intestine shrinks. Cells in the intestines are designed to have a large surface area to absorb nutrients. When that surface area shrinks, the ability to absorb enough nutrients to meet the body’s demands is impaired. This causes diarrhea because the nutrients not being absorbed pull water through the gut. This can also lead to rapid weight loss in some individuals. People can be on Benicar for months or years before suffering and are often misdiagnosed with celiac disease.
Rapid Weight Loss
One of the serious complications associated with the use of Benicar is the threat of rapid weight loss which has been known to occur in some individuals. Benicar is a drug used to lower blood pressure that has been known to cause complications such as chronic diarrhea and villous atrophy. These conditions do not allow the body to properly absorb nutrients, which can then lead to rapid weight loss. In some rare cases, death has resulted from the continued use of this medication. The FDA has recently made it mandatory for Benicar to carry a warning to consumers on its label; however, millions of patients continue to take the drug on a daily basis.
Benicar chronic diarrhea lawsuits are being filed for consumers who took this dangerous medication. The FDA has identified 23 serious cases presenting as late-onset diarrhea with significant weight loss and, in some cases, with intestinal villous atrophy on biopsy.
Benicar can cause or increase the risk of chronic diarrhea. The reason why it causes chronic diarrhea is not well-understood, but chronic diarrhea can lead to malnutrition, electrolyte imbalance, and dehydration. People can take this drug for months or years before suffering and are often misdiagnosed with celiac disease.
What Are Other Serious Side Effects Of Benicar?
Other common side effects of Benicar HCT include dizziness or lightheadedness as your body adjusts to the medication. Other side effects of Benicar HCT include:
- Stomach pain
- Joint pain
- Spinning sensation
- Dry cough
- Rapid weight loss
- Chest Pain
- Peripheral edema
- Abdominal pain
- Diarrhea/Abdominal pain
- Heart Palpitations
- Very high levels of cholesterol in the blood
- Abnormally high concentration of fats in the blood
- Excess of uric acid in the blood
- Muscle pain
What Claims Are Being Filed Against Benicar?
In 2014, George Williams filed a lawsuit against Daiichi Sankyo, a global pharmaceutical holding company and manufacturer of Benicar. According to reports, Williams spent more than 100 days in a hospital as a result of taking the medication. He allegedly developed a compression fracture in his back, as well as cataracts, which were the result of treatment he received to deal with the chronic diarrhea caused by his use of Benicar. Williams reportedly uses a feeding tube and has racked up massive medical bills.
Due to the large number of cases being filed against Daiichi Sankyo, a multidistrict litigation case has been created in the District of New Jersey. It is believed that more information will become available at a later date, due to the large number of documents that must be submitted and reviewed. Additionally, it is possible for more cases to be added at a later date.
Centralization of Benicar Lawsuits
Centralization of the lawsuits should make litigation more efficient and less expensive, especially since foreign discovery may be necessary due to Daiichi Sankyo being based in Japan and due to Benicar being developed there. Centralization should also prevent varying outcomes from multiple trials in multiple states. Daiichi Sankyo and Forest Laboratories initially attempted to prevent the centralization of the lawsuits for these same reasons and because, as they alleged, they fear that more suits will be filed following the consolidation. Daiichi Sankyo and Forest Laboratories also alleged that the suits should remain separate since each case was different and had unique circumstances such as the doctors that the individuals saw and the medical treatment that the individuals received. The plaintiffs, many of whom brought the suits in Ohio, pushed for the suits to be consolidated in Ohio or nearby. Although Daiichi Sankyo and Forest Laboratories lost their attempt to keep the lawsuits from being centralized, they did succeed in getting them consolidated in New Jersey, where both companies have their United States headquarters, instead of having them centralized in the midwest, which would have been much more convenient for many of the plaintiffs but significantly less so for the defendants.
Benicar Settlements and Compensation
Daiichi Sankyo agreed to a $39 million settlement for lawsuits for drugs that the company produces, including high blood pressure drug Benicar, as well as Azor, Welchol and Tribenzor. The settlement will resolve claims brought by the Department of Justice that Daiichi gave kickbacks illegally to physicians in exchange for them prescribing the drugs. The money from the settlement will be split among several different states, and the original whistleblower will also receive a substantial portion of the multi-million dollar settlement as a result of bringing the misconduct to the attention of the Department of Justice.
Although this settlement is good news for all patients who have suffered adverse effects from using Benicar, the settlement does not settle outstanding lawsuits that Benicar patients have filed asserting Benicar-related health complications.
Settlements in Benicar lawsuits provide compensation for pain and suffering, as well as any psychological damage that can be calculated by a skilled lawyer. Damages also include medical expenses and lost wages.
Retain a Benicar Attorney Today
You should speak with a Benicar lawyer about any side effects you’ve experienced after taking this drug. Our attorneys can help you seek justice.