Severe Weight Loss
Individuals taking Benicar for high blood pressure have experienced excessive weight loss, along with chronic diarrhea and other serious symptoms. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that these symptoms can occur months or even years after a patient begins taking the drug. Some patients have experienced symptoms so severe that they had to be hospitalized after taking Benicar.
If you have suffered excessive weight loss or other serious side effects of Benicar, your best course of action is to speak with a knowledgeable pharmaceutical litigation lawyer. At Farah & Farah, we have focused our practice exclusively on representing individuals who have been injured by dangerous drugs and devices. We are committed to holding dangerous drug manufacturers accountable when their products cause harm.
How Benicar Causes Excessive Weight Loss
Medical research has shown, and FDA has confirmed, that Benicar can cause a condition known as “severe spruelike enteropathy,” an intestinal disorder with symptoms similar to Celiac disease (hypersensitivity to gluten). In patients who develop spruelike enteropathy from Benicar, “villous atrophy” can occur.
Villous atrophy is a condition in which the villi – microscopic tentacles lining the intestine – erode away, leaving the intestinal wall with a virtually flat surface, an unnatural condition. The villi absorb nutrients from the foods we eat. When they have eroded away through villous atrophy, serious nutritional deficiencies develop.
Severe, chronic diarrhea is a symptom of the spruelike enteropathy caused by Benicar. This can result in extreme weight loss, severe dehydration, and other serious health consequences.
Study Reveals Excessive Weight Loss Can Be Caused by Benicar
Mayo Clinic Proceedings – the medical journal sponsored by the Mayo Clinic – published a peer-reviewed study entitled, “Severe Sprue Like Enteropathy Associated With Olmesartan” in August 2012. (Benicar is a brand name for the drug olmesartan.) In this study, researchers evaluated 22 patients who developed severe sprue like enteropathy while taking olmesartan.
The entire study group was tested for Celiac disease and none of them had the condition. Intestinal biopsies showed villous atrophy, inflammation, and other abnormal characteristics. Patients in the study group had been experiencing diarrhea for an average of 19.2 months before they stopped taking Benicar. They had lost an average of 18 kg each, which converts to almost 40 pounds – a shocking and dangerous level of weight loss.
One and all, these patients improved notably when Benicar was discontinued. The structure and function of the intestines began to recover. They gained back a mean of 12.2 kg in weight – an average of approximately 27 lbs each. The study concluded that a severe form of sprue like enteropathy may be associated with olmesartan, and that patients are expected to improve when the drug is discontinued.
FDA Releases Information about Excessive Weight Loss and Chronic Diarrhea with Benicar
On July 3, 2013, FDA issued a safety announcement, warning that olmesartan can cause sprue like enteropathy with symptoms of severe and chronic diarrhea and substantial weight loss. FDA warned that these symptoms can develop months to years after starting the drug and sometimes require hospitalization.
In its safety announcement, FDA instructs patients taking products containing olmesartan to contact their healthcare professionals right away if they experience significant weight loss or severe diarrhea that does not go away. Physicians are instructed to check patients for other possible causes of spruelike enteropathy, such as Celiac disease, and if none are found, to take the patient off Benicar and prescribe a different high blood pressure medication.
FDA identified 23 different serious cases through the FDA Adverse Events Reporting System (FAERS) with late-onset diarrhea and significant weight loss. All 23 patients improved when they stopped taking Benicar. In evaluating data from FAERS and other sources, FDA found clear evidence of the association between olmesartan and sprue like enteropathy.
FDA references the Mayo Clinic study in its data summary for the olmesartan sprue like enteropathy safety warning. Although that study was published in August 2012, the FDA warning and labeling requirement for Benicar was not issued until almost one year later.
Benicar Lawyer Investigating Cases Nationwide
Our tenacious pharmaceutical litigation attorneys are investigating cases for people throughout the U.S. who have suffered excessive weight loss and other serious side effects from taking Benicar. Daiichi-Sankyo, the drug company that manufacturers Benicar, should be held accountable for the harm caused to unsuspecting people taking this potentially dangerous drug.
If you or your loved one has been injured by Benicar, call us at (800) 533-3555 for a free case evaluation. We can tell you if you have a case and advise you of the damages you may be entitled to claim. If you are seeking compensation for the losses you have suffered, you can rely on us for skillful representation and dedicated advocacy.