The Benicar lawsuit claimed the makers of Benicar failed to warn doctors and patients that the drug could cause sprue-like enteropathy.
Important Benicar Settlement Information
In August 2017, a $300 million settlement was reached with Daiichi Sankyo on behalf of individuals who filed lawsuits after suffering sprue-like enteropathy and other gastrointestinal issues from Benicar, Benicar HCT, Azor and Tribenzor.
Plaintiffs must have been represented by an attorney by August 23, 2017, to be eligible to participate in the settlement.
What Do We Know About the Benicar Lawsuits
Thousands of claims were filed against Daiichi Sankyo (the manufacturer of Benicar) by people who suffered sprue-like enteropathy and other gastrointestinal issues as a result of taking Benicar.
Attorneys argued that if doctors and patients had known the risks, they would have used a blood pressure medication other than Benicar, or would have been closely monitored for symptoms similar to celiac disease.
What is the Purpose of Benicar
Benicar (marketed as Benicar, Benicar HCT, Azor and Tribenzor) is a blood pressure medication that blocks certain receptors, known as angiotensin receptors. Angiotensin II is a hormone that causes the blood vessels to constrict.
By inhibiting the action of this hormone (as well as reducing the secretion and production of other hormones involved in regulating blood pressure), blood vessels become dilated.
Drugs of this class generate approximately $7 billion in revenue for the manufacturers. There are a number of angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) on the market, but only Benicar has been implicated in the development of the intestinal disorder known as sprue-like enteropathy.
Often misdiagnosed as celiac disease, sprue-like enteropathy prevents the intestinal system from properly absorbing nutrients from food. In essence, a patient who is not treated for this condition literally starves to death.
Benicar Injuries & Side Effects
A study conducted at the Mayo Clinic by Dr. Joseph Murray linked the development of sprue-like enteropathy to the use of Benicar. Sprue-like enteropathy is a disease that produces severe gastrointestinal symptoms; such as chronic diarrhea, significant weight loss, nausea, and overall malnutrition.
Dr. Murray conducted the study on 22 patients who were using Benicar and experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms, initially diagnosed as Celiac disease. However, the patients in the study were not responding to a gluten-free diet, a common form of treatment for Celiac disease, and did not have detectable tissue transglutaminase in their blood, which is used to positively diagnose celiac disease.
Upon discontinuation of Benicar, all 22 patients experienced relief from the gastrointestinal symptoms as well as weight gain. Dr. Murray concluded that the Benicar being taken by the patients was directly linked to the gastrointestinal symptoms the patients were experiencing. Dr. Murray’s study and findings on the link between Benicar use and sprue-like enteropathy was recently published online in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, and began the process of Benicar lawyers filing Benicar Lawsuits.
Celiac Disease and Sprue-like Enteropathy: Many patients that are taking Benicar have been diagnosed wrongfully with Celiac Disease. The injury caused by Benicar (‘Sprue-like Enteropathy’) mimics Celiac Disease. Benicar attacks the villi in the small intestine for patients that are susceptible to this reaction, just as patients who have Celiac will have their villi atrophied or flattened after ingesting gluten.
Patients that are taking Benicar may have had a biopsy taken during an endoscopy and this biopsy showed villous atrophy or villous blunting. Because villous atrophy is a common finding to show that patients have Celiac Disease, their gastroenterologists will often diagnose their patients with Celiac Disease. However, many patients have found that they do not have Celiac Disease, but rather, they had ‘Sprue-like Enteropathy’ caused by Benicar.
These patients found this out because a gluten-free diet did not alleviate their symptoms at all. Rather, these patients’ symptoms were only alleviated after discontinuing Benicar. Some patients were diagnosed with Celiac Disease at the same time that they stopped taking Benicar. After years of being on a gluten-free diet, they realized after specifically discussing their Benicar usage with their gastroenterologist that the Benicar may have been the culprit of their villous atrophy (and their GI symptoms).
If you ingested Benicar and were diagnosed with Celiac Disease for the first time while ingesting Benicar, you should consider speaking to a gastroenterologist about this.
Heart Issues: Two large clinical studies have also shown an unexpectedly high risk of cardiovascular death in diabetic patients associated with the use of Benicar. Similarly, a study published in the European Heart Journal revealed that Benicar combined with β-blockers and ACE inhibitors increase the risk of myocardial infarction (heart attacks) and strokes.
Benicar Lawsuit NewsDaiichi's Benicar Pact Brings Payout Over Drugs to $339 Million
"Daiichi officials agreed Monday to pay $300 million to resolve patient suits over its Benicar, Benicar HCT, Azor and Tribenzor blood-pressure treatments. The accord comes more than two years after the Chuo-Ku, Japan-based company paid $39 million to resolve the U.S. government’s allegations that it paid illegal kickbacks to doctors who prescribed the medicines." Reported in Bloomberg - Benicar $339 Million PayoutFDA Adds GI Warning to Benicar Label
"The FDA ordered the maker of the blood pressure drug olmesartan (Benicar) to add a warning about the risk of an intestinal condition known as sprue-like enteropathy to the drug's label." Reported in MedPage - FDA Gastrointestinal Warning