Severe Intestinal Side Effects
Benicar is the brand name for olmesartan, a hypertension medication manufactured by Daiichi-Sankyo. Its purpose is to lower blood pressure and save lives. Ironically, a number of severe side effects are associated with this drug, not the least of which is chronic diarrhea.
Research and post-marketing experience have shown that Benicar can cause a serious condition known as “spruelike enteropathy” involving severe, chronic diarrhea and substantial weight loss. According to current FDA-approved safety warnings on Benicar labeling, this condition can occur months to years after the patient started taking the medication.
If you suffer from severe, chronic diarrhea after taking Benicar, it is in your best interests to consult with a knowledgeable pharmaceutical litigation lawyer. Our dedicated legal team at Farah & Farah is currently investigating cases nationwide for patients who suffer from this debilitating condition after taking Benicar. We fight to ensure that dangerous drug manufacturers are brought to justice and held accountable for the harm their products cause.
Research on Benicar and Chronic Diarrhea
The Mayo Clinic Proceedings, a medical journal sponsored by the Mayo Clinic, published the findings of a study on spruelike enteropathy associated with olmesartan in August 2012. In this study, researchers evaluated 22 patients with unexplained diarrhea and enteropathy (a disease or inflammation of the intestine) who were taking Benicar.
These patients suffered from chronic diarrhea and weight loss, requiring hospitalization in 14 cases. Intestinal biopsies showed villous atrophy – a condition in which the fingerlike, microscopic tentacles lining the intestine (villi) erode away, impeding the intestine’s ability to absorb nutrients from food. Celiac disease is the best known cause of villous atrophy. However, Celiac disease was ruled out for all 22 patients studied, and a gluten-free diet was not successful in resolving the condition.
After Benicar was discontinued, these patients began to gain back the weight they had lost and their health improved. Among the 18 patients who had follow-up biopsies, researchers saw recovery of the villi and improvement in the condition of the duodenum (the part of the small intestine immediately beyond the stomach). The study concluded that olmesartan (Benicar) may be associated with severe spruelike enteropathy, and that clinical response and recovery of the villi can be expected after discontinuing the drug.
FDA Warning about Benicar and Chronic Diarrhea
Although the Mayo Clinic study was published in August 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) did not issue an official warning about this dangerous Benicar side effect until July 2013 – nearly a year after the study was released. The FDA stated unequivocally in its public announcement that olmesartan can cause intestinal problems known as spruelike enteropathy. FDA also approved changes to the drug labeling to include warning of this health risk.
The FDA safety announcement advises patients:
- To consult with their doctors if they experience severe diarrhea, diarrhea that continues, or significant weight loss while taking olmesartan or a product containing olmesartan.
- That if no other cause for the symptoms is found, their doctors may take them off Benicar and prescribe another high blood pressure medication instead.
No Warning of Chronic Diarrhea Benicar Side Effect for Eleven Years
Olmesartan was approved for treatment of hypertension by FDA on April 5, 2002. How many patients have been exposed to this serious health risk in the eleven-year period between the time the drug was first released on the market and the time spruelike enteropathy was listed on the label as a possible side effect?
Drug manufactures have a responsibility to ensure that their products are safe and that the potential side effects are listed. When a drug has serious potential side effects, the manufacturer has a duty to warn both patients and doctors. Our pharmaceutical litigation attorneys at Farah & Farah strive to hold Daiichi-Sankyo accountable for the harm done to patients who have suffered chronic diarrhea or other dangerous side effects after taking Benicar.
Benicar Side Effects Attorney Investigating Cases Nationwide
At Farah & Farah, we believe that people who have suffered because of dangerous drugs deserve justice and compensation. We believe that drug companies that manufacture and market dangerous drugs should be held accountable for the harm their actions cause. Most importantly, we are committed to recovering full and fair compensation for every client we represent in dangerous drug product liability cases.
If you took Benicar and suffered chronic diarrhea and significant weight loss or other serious side effects, contact our Benicar injury attorneys right away. You may be entitled to file a claim for compensation. Call us toll free at (800) 533-3555 for a free case consultation. We can advise you of your options under the law and the damages you may be entitled to claim.