Understanding the Dangers of Benicar

There is currently an epidemic of high blood pressure in the United States. Almost one out of every three adults across the nation has the disease, however only about half of those have it under control. Among those 65 and older, high blood pressure will affect more women than men, and is a primary or contributing cause of more than 1,000 deaths each day. While there are many medications used to treat high blood pressure, one of them has been in the spotlight recently—and not in a good way.

Benicar Corners a Significant Portion of the Blood Pressure Medication Market

Benicar and Benicar HCT have had a consistently large chunk of the blood pressure medication market for many years now—nearly 1.9 million patients filled prescriptions for Benicar and other olmesartan-based BP medications in 2012. Unfortunately, Benicar, manufactured by Daiichi Sankyo, may have some very dangerous side effects. Severe gastrointestinal issues are the most significant of these side effects.

More specifically, a health condition which has symptoms similar to Celiac disease has been noted as a side effect of Benicar. This condition is known as sprue-like enteropathy, and causes patients to develop severe, chronic diarrhea, malnutrition and unchecked weight loss. Villous atrophy, a disease that damages the ability of the small intestine to absorb nutrients, is also a symptom of Benicar. Clinical trials were conducted for Benicar for only a three-month period—hardly long enough to truly assess potential side effects.

FDA Issues Drug Safety Alert for Benicar

In July 2013, the FDA issued a drug safety alert for Benicar after reviewing data from the Mayo Clinic. When the Mayo Clinic began studying the issue, it was believed that patients taking Benicar suffered from Celiac disease. When the tests for Celiac came back negative, the doctors in the study realized the only common thread between the patients with gastrointestinal symptoms was the fact they were all taking Benicar to control their high blood pressure.

Once patients stopped taking Benicar, their symptoms began to improve. The authors of the FDA report went so far as to call the side-effects of Benicar “life-threatening.” One patient in the study lost a frightening 125 pounds, while others, desperate to control their chronic diarrhea, took steroids. Fourteen of the 22 patients in the study eventually ended up in the hospital.

Benicar Lawsuits Continue to Mount

Over 1,300 lawsuits have been filed against Daiichi Sankyo in Federal Court in New Jersey and hundreds more have been filed in various state courts around the country. Dozens of depositions have been taken by lawyers from across the nation exposing the negligent conduct of Daiichi Sankyo and its employees. Bellwether trials are expected to begin in the winter of 2016/2017.

The Federal Government Investigation

Daiichi Sankyo has been plagued by additional problems along with those associated with Benicar. The U.S. Department of Justice claimed the company violated the False Claims Act by paying illegal kickbacks to doctors who prescribed Benicar. Daiichi Sankyo settled the case for $39 million a little more than a year ago. Since Benicar accounted for nearly 30 percent of Daiichi Sankyo’s worldwide revenue ($3.1 billion) in 2013 alone, the mounting lawsuits—many of which claim the company failed to warn patients about the potential dangers of Benicar—could seriously impact the company’s bottom line. One Texas man who took Benicar claims he required hospitalization for over 100 days, and was forced to have a feeding tube as a result of permanent injury to his gastrointestinal tract. Those who have been injured due to the use of Benicar should contact an experienced Benicar attorney as soon as possible.

Contact Our National Benicar Lawsuit Attorneys

If you have been diagnosed with sprue-like enteropathy or GI complications like chronic diarrhea or extreme weight loss after using Benicar, your injuries may be the result of a drug manufacturer's negligence. To learn more about your legal options, schedule a free consultation with Golomb Legaltoday by calling (215) 278-4449.