Benicar is a drug used to treat high blood pressure. It also has been linked to an unfortunate side effect: sprue-like enteropathy, a condition with symptoms that include chronic diarrhea, weight loss, and malnutrition.
As these symptoms resemble untreated Celiac disease, their relationship to Benicar usage was not immediately apparent to doctors.
The Mayo Clinic and FDA have begun to uncover significant links between Benicar and gastrointestinal side effects, some of which have been severe enough to send patients to the hospital for several days. Questions have also emerged about how long the manufacturer of the drug, Daiichi Sankyo, knew about the side effects without warning potential patients.
In light of the discoveries and ongoing investigations related to the drug, many people who have suffered adverse reactions have begun to consult lawyers about filing a Benicar lawsuit.
If you are considering filing a complaint against Daiichi Sankyo, talk to a dangerous drug lawyer from Eisbrouch & Marsh. We have 25 years of experience serving residents of New Jersey and New York who have been affected by dangerous drugs like Benicar. Call 201-342-5545 to get started.
Compensation may be available for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. Attorneys from our team have the resources and approach necessary to procure maximum compensation for you.
Benicar (Olmesartan medoxomil) and Benicar HCT (olmesartan medoxomil and hydrochlorothiazide) received approval for the treatment of hypertension (high blood pressure) in the United States in 2002 and 2003, respectively. Both tablet forms of the medication are from a class of drugs known as angiotensis II receptor blockers (ARBs) on the market to treat hypertension. They work by widening blood vessels and preventing their constriction.
Benicar (in both forms) is one of the most widely used of this type of drug. It is estimated that over 10 million prescriptions were written for Benicar in 2012 alone.
Side Effects Associated with Benicar
Several patients who have taken the drug have begun to file Benicar lawsuits due to the medication’s side effects. Researchers have discovered that Benicar causes a serious condition called sprue-like enteropathy in some patients. Enteropathy is any malady associated with the intestines, and sprue is the traditional name for a disease that affects the lining of the intestines.
Once associated primarily with tropical regions (“tropical sprue”), the condition is also associated with celiac disease.
Sprue-like enteropathy encompasses the following side effects:
- Abdominal pain
- Severe and/or chronic diarrhea
- Villous atrophy (damage to the lining of the small intestines)
- Inability to absorb nutrients/malnutrition
- Extreme weight loss
Plaintiffs who have struggled with these side effects have often endured several lengthy hospital stays. Symptoms began to clear up soon after patients stop using Benicar, but true recovery can take months. If left untreated, damage to the small intestines (villous atrophy) may result in “leaky gut syndrome,” a condition in which a patient is vulnerable to several kinds of infections or other autoimmune diseases (such as chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia).
Because the condition has often been misdiagnosed, some have claimed to suffer permanent damage to their intestinal tract, or have been harmed by an improper treatment for an incorrect diagnosis. For instance, in one Benicar lawsuit, a plaintiff claims that he was hospitalized 10 times due to Benicar side effects. As side effects for the steroidal treatment he was given after his sprue-like enteropathy was misdiagnosed, he suffered cataracts and a back fracture. He also requires a feeding tube due to extensive intestinal damage.
Mayo Clinic and FDA Link Benicar to Sprue-Like Enteropathy
The Mayo Clinic was the first to make the connection between Benicar and sprue-like enteropathy in 2012. They reported 22 cases in which patients suffered severe diarrhea and other symptoms while taking Benicar. It took some time to implicate Benicar because many doctors initially thought that the patients’ symptoms were the result of Celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder in which patients cannot tolerate gluten; however, a gluten free diet failed to help the patients. Only stopping the medication began to clear up the patients’ symptoms.
The FDA, upon learning of the Mayo Clinic’s findings, conducted their own evaluation of records and brought to light 23 additional cases of sprue-like enteropathy resulting from Benicar usage. Additional incidents have been reported in a January 2014 study published in the journal Pharmacy & Therapeutics.
The FDA issued a warning linking Benicar to the symptoms of sprue-like enteropathy, noting that symptoms could occur months or years after beginning Benicar, and that using the drug could result in hospitalization under these circumstances. The newly-required Benicar warning label must include information about the risk of these side effects, including chronic diarrhea and serious weight loss.
Recovering Damages through Filing a Benicar Lawsuit
As warnings from the FDA make clear the link between Benicar and sprue-like enteropathy, patients have begun to file lawsuits to recover damages inflicted by the drug, including:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
For patients who have endured multiple hospitalizations and suffered severe gastrointestinal harm, compensation for these damages through a Benicar lawsuit may be crucial. Eisbrouch & Marsh will make sure that our clients receive fair compensation for any and all damages that they have suffered due to Benicar side effects.
How Is the Defendant in a Benicar Lawsuit Liable?
Benicar is manufactured and distributed by Japanese-based multinational corporation Daiichi Sankyo and U.S.-based corporation, Forest Laboratories, Inc.
The defendants in Benicar lawsuits may be held liable under the following theories:
- Failure to warn –There are some indications that Benicar manufacturers knew about some of the problems associated with their drug, but did not warn patients or doctors in a timely manner for fear of losing business.
- Negligence – Some lawsuits claim that the manufacturers did not conduct adequate trials of Benicar. Typically patients can take the drug for months or years. Benicar side effects sometimes show up only after long term treatment. But the company only conducted three month trials with the drug.
- Fraudulent marketing – The company conducted an aggressive marketing campaign in which it made statements about the drug’s efficacy that have been censured by the FDA; meanwhile the campaign did not note risk associated with the drug.
Investigations into the company’s potential wrongdoing are ongoing at this point. Benicar attorneys at Eisbrouch & Marsh are following them closely.
The Imporance of Hiring an Attorney
If you believe that you have suffered side effects due to Benicar usage, it is important to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer to represent you. At Eisbrouch & Marsh, our attorneys can offer the following kinds of assistance:
- Conduct a thorough investigation into your case, gathering all medical records
- Perform an investigation into the manufacturer of Benicar and its own research, development, and marketing of the drug. A Benicar attorney can make sure that all information about the company’s unseemly activities are brought to light.
- Locate expert witnesses.
- Negotiate aggressively in order to gain their clients the best possible settlement.
- Advocate for a client in a court of law and make sure that his or her story is heard in full.
- Take care of all paperwork from start to finish. A good law firm will see to it that a case goes through smoothly where paperwork and red tape are concerned. A client should not have to worry about these issues.
Benicar Lawsuits to Date
A small number of Benicar lawsuits have been filed so far, but that number is growing. In the spring of 2014, litigation over the drug began to gain momentum as more evidence came to light about the serious nature of Benicar risks became available to doctors and patients.
Many Benicar lawsuits have been filed in New Jersey, the U.S. base for Daiichi Sankyo. However, plaintiffs have originated from states all throughout the country.
Cases have typically been filed in the Superior Court of New Jersey for Atlantic County, but at least five have been removed to the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. As the pace of the complaints accelerates, one likely scenario would be the creation of multidistrict litigation (MDL) under one judge.
Because trials have not yet started, there is not yet information about the types of settlements or jury awards that may be available to plaintiffs; however, given the potential charges against the makers of Benicar, and the seriousness of some plaintiff’s complaints, settlements or verdicts could be substantial.
Contact Eisbrouch & Marsh
Patients who are considering filing a lawsuit should talk to a Benicar lawyer from Eisbrouch & Marsh. Our attorneys have been practicing for more than 25 years and have extensive experience in the field of product liability and dangerous drugs. We fight for maximum compensation for our clients and make sure justice is served.
Call 201-342-5545 to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our attorneys. We charge nothing for the initial consultation, and don’t collect any legal fees until we win a settlement or court award on your behalf. With offices in Hackensack, Newark, and New York, our lawyers welcome clients from Bergen County, Essex County and all nearby areas.
- NY Times, Think Like a Doctor: Stomach Bug Solved! https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/02/07/think-like-a-doctor-stomach-bug-solved/
- Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Severe Spruelike Enteropathy Associated With Olmesartan http://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196%2812%2900558-7/fulltext
- FDA Drug Safety Communication, FDA approves label changes to include intestinal problems (sprue-like enteropathy) linked to blood pressure medicine olmesartanmedoxomil http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/DrugSafety/UCM359496.pdf
- Pharmacy and Therapeutics, Olmesartan and Drug-Induced Enteropathy https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3956379/
- Huffington Post, Benicar, FDA Issues Warning on Blood Pressure Drugs Over Diarrhea, Weight Loss Risks http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/03/benicar-warning-blood-pressure-drugs-fda-azor-tribenzor_n_3540900.html