Ashcraft & Gerel is closely monitoring a warning issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) related to the blood pressure drug olmesartan medoxomil—better known as Benicar.
According to the July 3, 2013 FDA warning, taking Benicar can lead to serious intestinal problems. Specifically, Benicar has been linked to sprue-like enteropathy, which means a person’s intestines can’t absorb nutrients from food.
Side Effects of Benicar
Taking Benicar can lead to symptoms like:
- Severe, chronic diarrhea
- Substantial weight loss
- Intestinal inflammation
- Villious atropy (erosion of the tiny villi in the intestines that help the body absorb nutrients)
- Other intestinal abnormalities
The sprue-like enteropathy may develop months to years after starting Benicar, and sometimes requires hospitalization.
Benicar (olmesartan medoxomil) is an angiotensin II receptor antagonist. It was first approved by the FDA on April 25, 2002 for the treatment of hypertension, alone or with other antihypertensive agents.
Benicar is a top-selling hypertensive drug for Daiichi Sankyo, Inc. In 2013 alone, it generated more than $3.1 billion in worldwide sales, accounting for more than a quarter of the group’s sales. After spending millions to advertise the drug, Sankyo’s Benicar today is the tenth most used medication in the United States.
In 2012, the Mayo Clinic published a report on 22 cases of sprue-like enteropathy associated with olmesartan. The patients came from 17 states and were treated for life-threatening gastrointestinal symptoms similar to celiac disease, including:
- Weight loss;
- Villous atrophy;
- And intestinal inflammation and abnormalities from 2008 to 2011.
Eighteen patients had follow-up intestinal biopsies demonstrating recovery or improvement after discontinuation of olmesartan.
Additionally, a recent study published in June 2014 conducted by researchers from the University of Paris and the French National Health, revealed an association between Benicar and severe intestinal malabsorption, leading to dehydration, malnutrition, substantial weight loss, and severe chronic diarrhea.
What to Do if You Have Taken Benicar and Think You May Have These Symptoms
Ashcraft & Gerel is investigating possible lawsuits against the makers of Benicar. If you or someone you know has been harmed as a result of taking Benicar or Benicar HCT, you may be entitled to compensation. Please contact us online or call us at 800-829-7037 to speak with an attorney today. All consultations are free and completely confidential.