People who have taken Benicar, which is a hypertension medication, are alleging that the drug has been linked to sprue-like enteropathy. Sprue-like enteropathy is a gastrointestinal issue that causes weight loss, diarrhea and even colitis. According to the lawsuits filed, the symptoms from the side effects can take several months or even years to develop. Some patients have required hospitalization.
According to a study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings in 2012, researchers studied a total of 22 patients who were treated at the Mayo Clinic from 2008 to 2011. Researchers said 18 of the 22 patients improved after discontinuing Benicar. At that time, they made the conclusion that olmesartan, the generic name for Benicar, could be the cause of a severe variation of sprue-like enteropathy.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning on July 3, 2013, regarding Benicar and the possibility that it can cause severe intestinal problems, known as sprue-like enteropathy. At that time, the FDA said there was clear evidence of a connection between the drug and the gastrointestinal symptoms. The FDA said that olmesartan drug labels would be updated to include the risk of the gastrointestinal problems.
There are more than a hundred federal lawsuits filed regarding the side effects of Benicar. Benicar was approved by the FDA in April 2002, which was 11 years before they ordered the label to be updated in regards to the possible side effects. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are alleging that Benicar, Daiichi Sankyo and Forest Laboratories knew about the sprue-like enteropathy link to Benicar and failed to warn the consumers. The lawsuits allege that consumers were put at risk because the drug manufacturer wanted to make a profit.
While many patients recover from the problem, some patients suffer life-long effects. The elderly are especially more likely to suffer long-term effects from the drug. The severe diarrhea resulting from the disorder can lead to dehydration, malnutrition and weight loss that can result in lengthy hospital stays for the elderly. The prognosis can be dire for seniors or for those with other chronic health problems.
Experts anticipate that the number of lawsuits against Benicar could continue to grow, reaching thousands of claims. Medical malpractice and negligence attorneys are preparing cases regarding Benicar and its side effects. Many believe the Benicar claims will turn into a class action lawsuit in the near future.