Benicar Website Omits Sprue-like Enteropathy

While credit is due to Benicar manufacturer, Daiichi Sankyo, for listing the potential side effects of Benicar on the main Benicar landing page—saving the consumer from having to go from one link to another—the company appears to have omitted one of the primary side effects of the drug. While the site lists various side effects with the drug used to regulate blood pressure, such as dizziness, diarrhea, kidney problems and feeling faint, one of the most serious potential side effects—sprue-like enteropathy—was omitted.

Serious, chronic diarrhea can cause significant weight loss—enough, in fact, to land the patient in the hospital. Sprue-like enteropathy can mimic the same symptoms as celiac disease, and, in fact, many doctors misdiagnosed their patients taking Benicar with celiac. Sprue-like enteropathy can be so serious that for some, death can result. The diarrhea which is typical in sprue-like enteropathy can be chronic, leaving patients bedridden or, at the very least, unable to venture far from a bathroom. Sprue-like enteropathy can be particularly serious among the elderly, as they can become dehydrated quickly following chronic diarrhea.

Study on Benicar Concludes a Link Between the Drug and Sprue-Like Enteropathy

Benicar is among a class of drugs known as angiotensin II receptor blockers, however; sprue-like enteropathy associated with Benicar has not been linked to other medications in the angiotensin II receptor-blocker class. The Mayo Clinic conducted a study in 2012, concluding Benicar could be responsible for sprue-like enteropathy. During a three-year period, 22 people who were taking Benicar displayed symptoms which suggested celiac disease, however the diagnosis was not supported by blood tests.

Once the patients discontinued Benicar, the adverse symptoms related to Benicar quickly improved. In 2013, the FDA warned consumers about the potential link between Benicar and sprue-like enteropathy. Among some taking Benicar, the diarrhea attacks number more than 20 in a single day, and some patients have lost as much as 100 pounds. This type of severe weight loss, and the related complications, can trigger such additional issues as infection and even cataracts.

Daiichi Sankyo Faces Civil Suits and Allegations of Fraud from the DOJ

Currently, there are more than 1,300 lawsuits filed against Daiichi Sankyo. The initial Benicar bellwether trials are expected to begin late in 2016. Daiichi Sankyo has even more problems to deal with—in addition to the individual civil Benicar cases the company is facing, it also faced allegations of fraud from the U.S. Department of Justice. In a September 2015 pretrial hearing, Judge Schneider asked Daiichi to submit a review of documents related to a $39 million settlement with the Department of Justice.

The DOJ alleged Daiichi Sankyo payed kickbacks to doctors, even encouraging them to prescribe specific drugs—including Benicar—and that Daiichi was paying for lavish dinners and speaking engagements, even when the doctors weren’t actually speaking. According to the DOJ, Daiichi violated the False Claims Act. Although the DOJ settlement resolved allegations, there was no determination made as far as liability, however Daiichi must make internal compliance reforms over the next five years.

Contact Our National Benicar Lawsuit Attorneys

If you have been diagnosed with sprue-like enteropathy or have suffered GI complications like chronic diarrhea and/or significant weight loss after using Benicar, your injuries may be the result of a drug manufacturer's negligence. To learn more about your legal options or to schedule a free consultation with an attorney, please call the Philadelphia dangerous drug lawyers at Golomb Legaltoday at (215) 278-4449 or fill out our confidential Contact Form.