Over 70 million Americans suffer from high blood pressure (hypertension), and only half of them are able to successfully keep their blood pressure levels under control. In addition to getting proper exercise and watching their diets, many patients rely on medications like Benicar® to help them control their hypertension. But recently, patients have learned that the price of lowering their blood pressure with Benicar is an increase in serious gastrointestinal problems.
Benicar Linked to Chronic Diarrhea and Other Intestinal Problems
Benicar (olmesartan medoxomil) was released in 2002 and was marketed as a more effective way for patients to reduce their high blood pressure symptoms. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a report in 2013 revealing many cases of chronic and severe intestinal issues as a result of long-term Benicar use. If you were one of these patients, you may be eligible for reimbursement of the costs of your injuries. Contact our dangerous drugs law firm today to learn more.
Patients taking Benicar have reported a number of debilitating side effects, including:
- Chronic diarrhea. The most commonly reported symptoms are intestinal distress, including uncontrollable diarrhea. In some cases, patient may develop a condition known as sprue-like enteropathy: severe, chronic diarrhea that causes dehydration, malnutrition, and significant weight loss.
- Intestinal damage. Long-term use of Benicar may cause a condition called villous atrophy, which breaks down the intestinal lining. This can cause painful digestive issues and make it harder for patients to absorb vitamins and nutrients, leading to malnutrition.
- Celiac disease. Patients may suffer this common form of chronic gluten intolerance, leading to pain and long-lasting damage to the digestive tract.
- Kidney failure. Benicar has also been linked to kidney problems, including acute kidney failure. This risk increases for the elderly, patients with diabetes, those with heart conditions, and people who are regularly take NSAIDs.
- Severe weight loss. According to reports from the FDA, patients who suffered weight loss due to vomiting and nausea were likely to see a marked improvement in these symptoms once they stopped taking the drug.
In addition, the FDA study discovered that the dangerous symptoms of Benicar took weeks or even years to manifest, much like many autoimmune disorders. Researchers have suggested that there could be a link between sprue-link enteropathy and other autoimmune conditions.
Claims Filed Against Daiichi Sankyo for Unethical and Illegal Practices
Benicar and Benicar HCT® were created by Japanese company Daiichi Sankyo. For many years after its release, Daiichi Sankyo marketed the drug as a better option than other angiotensin receptor blockers (ARB) used to treat high blood pressure, claiming that Benicar was safer and more effective. However, the FDA has since concluded that no other ARB medications have been found to cause the severe intestinal complications that Benicar causes.
Patients who have filed lawsuits after suffering painful Benicar side effects have made numerous allegations against the company, including:
- Manufacture of a dangerous product
- Marketing and promotion tactics intended to mislead the public
- Concealing the known dangers of a defective product and placing consumers’ lives at risk
- Failing to adequately warn consumers and health care providers of product risks
- Failure to conduct proper research and testing before releasing Benicar onto the market
- Bribing doctors to promote and prescribe Benicar
At least one legal claim against Daiichi Sankyo has been settled. In April 2015, the company paid $39 million in a case brought by the U.S. Department of Justice for a lawsuit that claimed the company gave illegal kickbacks to doctors who prescribed Benicar.