A request to consolidate lawsuits involving the drug Benicar, has been granted by a federal judicial panel in New Jersey. The suits allege the prescription drug Benicar, used to treat high blood-pressure, can cause severe gastrointestinal injuries. It further claims the company knew and failed to adequately warn patients of the serious risks.
Per an article in the WSJ, a senior regulator at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), went against his supervisors to advocate stronger warnings about the drugs known as angiotensin receptor blockers, or ARBs, but those warnings went ignored.
Intestinal Damage and FDA Warning
A drug safety alert was issued by the FDA for Benicar (olmesartan medoxomil), made by Daiichi Sankyo and sold by Forest Laboratories, in July 2013 following a review of data submitted by the Mayo Clinic the previous year. The agency found several Benicar users who reported severe diarrhea and weight loss after taking the medication. Some patients developed intestinal damage.
Initially, doctors thought a number of patients taking Benicar had Celiac disease, although blood test results were negative. A common thread among patients with this intestinal disease and Benicar use was established. No other drug in this class has been linked to Celiac-like symptoms or a disease called sprue-like enteropathy which includes severe and chronic diarrhea. When patients discontinued use of Benicar, their symptoms improved.
The serious digestive side effects and injuries linked to Benicar, include the following:
- Chronic Diarrhea
- Weight Loss
- Villous Atrophy (Erosion of the intestinal structure preventing the absorption of nutrients)
Other side effects associated with Benicar
A black box warning for fetal toxicity has also been associated with Benicar.
According to the label, pregnant women should not take Benicar and the medicine should be stopped immediately once a woman knows she is pregnant. The drug can “cause injury or death to the developing fetus.”
Additional side effects from clinical trials and post market reports include but are not limited to the following:
- Abdominal Pain
- Chest pain
- Hair loss
- Kidney problems
- Lung cancer
- Misdiagnosis of Celiac disease
Nearly 67 million Americans deal with high blood pressure, and many of them keep hypertension in check with medicines like Benicar.
The company acknowledges it’s involvement in “approximately six actions” about Benicar allegations that are related to gastrointestinal “injuries.”
Call our firm at 800-883-2299 or fill out the inquiry form if you or a loved one have experienced stomach or related digestive injuries related to Benicar use. You may have a case against the manufacturer of the drug.