The lawsuits involving the blood pressure medication Benicar state the manufacturer failed to warn doctors and patients of the increased risk of sprue-like enteropathy, a gastrointestinal illness with symptoms very similar to celiac disease. Users of the drug can experience chronic diarrhea, significant weight loss, nausea, and overall malnutrition.
Why Benicar Lawsuits are Being Filed
More than 1,700 claims have been being filed against Daiichi Sankyo (the manufacturer of Benicar) by people who have suffered sprue-like enteropathy and other gastrointestinal issues as a result of taking Benicar. Attorneys state 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 are the Allegations in the Benicar Lawsuits
- Benicar is defective and unreasonably dangerous;
- Daiichi Sankyo was negligent in the manufacturing of Benicar;
- Daiichi Sankyo failed to properly test Benicar, and failed to warn doctors and patients of the potential for gastrointestinal problems; and
- Daiichi Sankyo concealed evidence of the dangers of Benicar from the government and the public, and misrepresented the safety of the drug in its marketing material.
What is the Purpose of Benicar
Benicar 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 recent Mayo Clinic study, conducted by Dr. Josephy Murray, has 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 Videos
Benicar Lawsuit NewsWhy Did it Take So Long for FDA to Act on Benicar Sprue-like Enteropathy Nationwide, Plaintiffs File Benicar Lawsuit Against Manufacturer
The connection between Benicar and sprue-like enteropathy was first discovered in June 2012 by Dr. Joseph Murray and a team of researchers with the Mayo Clinic. After several years of observing Benicar users suffering from sprue-like enteropathy, Murray concluded that it was the drug itself that was inducing the gastrointestinal condition. To read more, click The Ring of FireBenicar Lawsuit Victims Ask: Why Did It Take So Long For the FDA to Issue Warnings?
Lawsuits over the hypertension medication Benicar (over 1,100 as of the beginning of October) allege that executives at Daiichi-Sankyo were aware of the product’s dangerous side effects and withheld that information from the public. In light of this allegation, those injured by the drug are wondering why it took the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) more than 11 years to discover the problem and issue warnings. To read more, click Drug Safety News
For additional news stories, click Levin Law Benicar News
FDA and Scientific Studies Regarding Benicar
The FDA has approved label changes to Benicar to list the link to sprue-like enteropathyThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning that the blood pressure drug olmesartan medoxomil (marketed as Benicar, Benicar HCT, Azor, Tribenzor, and generics) can cause intestinal problems known as sprue-like enteropathy. To read more, click FDA Drug Safety Communication
Benicar Recall Information
As of this time, a recall of Benicar related to sprue-like enteropathy has not occurred. However, there has been an FDA recommended label change detailing the relationship between Benicar and sprue-like enteropathy.
Benicar Settlement Information
As of this time, there have been no large group settlements involving Benicar and the potential link to sprue-like enteropathy and other gastrointestinal issues. Litigation likes this takes many years to resolve, with teams of lawyers spending millions of dollars trying to determine exactly what occurred, and how it could have been prevented. Generally, large groups of settlements do not occur until such time as a few cases are tried before a jury, and the manufacturer is able to more thoroughly understand its financial risk.