Our team of Benicar attorneys warns those taking the high blood pressure drug that it is currently under investigation for causing severe gastrointestinal issues. The FDA is also reviewing Benicar for its cardiovascular risks in diabetic patients.
Benicar (olmesartan medoxomil) is prescribed alone or in combination with other drugs to treat hypertension, and is also marketed as Azor, Tribenzor, and Benicar HCT. In July 2013 the labels for this drug changed to reflect the high risk of intestinal problems – specifically, sprue-like enteropathy.
The main symptoms of sprue-like enteropathy are very similar to those of Celiac Disease, namely, chronic and severe diarrhea leading to weight loss and dehydration. Many patients have required hospitalization from the condition. Even more troubling is that it can develop months and even years after starting on Benicar, so even patients who have been on the drug long-term are still at risk.
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Fortunately, this condition is not associated with any other high blood pressure medication in the same class as Benicar (ARB), so patients who suffer gastrointestinal issues can treat their hypertension with another, similar drug. Another dose of good news: all patients hospitalized for sprue-like enteropathy showed clinical improvement after stopping Benicar.
Pintas & Mullins Law Firm is currently investigating cases of hospitalization from Benicar side effects. In addition to chronic diarrhea, Benicar can also cause
¢ Vomiting ¢ Rapid and excessive weight loss ¢ Cardiovascular (heart) problems ¢ Dehydration
The FDA warning was spurred by a recent finding from the Mayo Clinic. Between 2008 and 2011, doctors at the hospital observed that dozens of patients were being admitted for symptoms similar to Celiac Disease. The link between Benicar and sprue-like enteropathy became clear to Mayo Clinic doctors when their Celiac patients failed to respond to a gluten-free diet, and when these patients expressed that their condition seemed to get better when they stopped taking Benicar.
That caused doctors to look for Benicar usage in other patients who had been diagnosed with Celiacs but who did not improve with a gluten-free diet. Like the first few patients, all patients diagnosed with Celiacs who were also taking Benicar got better when they stopped taking the medication.
Several lawsuits have already been filed against the manufacturer of Benicar, for causing severe illness and hospitalization without warning of this possibility. Some patients, mainly elderly women, have suffered months of unremitting diarrhea, causing them to lose 20 pounds and wind up in the hospital.
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The damages to affected patients extend beyond hospital and medical bills, however. Many patients have been mistakenly diagnosed with Celiac’s Disease, since the symptoms are so similar to sprue-like enteropathy. Living with Celiac’s Disease is extremely difficult – those with the condition are severely allergic to gluten, which is a protein found in many grains. Eliminating grains completely from one’s diet is a huge lifestyle change, and requires immense effort, time and energy.
Medical experts are not yet sure why exactly Benicar has this effect in some patients but not others – more than 11 million Benicar prescriptions are written every year in the U.S. Since the gastrointestinal issues can occur at any point during Benicar treatment, it is likely that many more patients will suffer from the side effect.
If you have any questions about Benicar, or any other prescription drug with serious side effects, contact our team of Benicar lawyers immediately. We have been working on pharmaceutical drug cases for over 35 years, and have a wide network of legal and medical experts to help injured patients. Contact our office for a free legal consultation today.