Several lawsuits have been filed over the blood pressure-lowering drug Benicar, representing what some legal experts say is just the “tip of the iceberg.” The lawsuits claim the drug caused patients to develop intestinal problems resulting in chronic diarrhea and dramatic weight loss.
Benicar is manufactured by Daiichi Sankyo and marketed in the United States by Forest Laboratories. It contains the drug ingredient olmesartan medoxomil, which is also found in the blood pressure drugs Benicar HCT, Azor and Tribenzor, as well as generics. Olmesartan medoxomil is known as a angiotensin II receptor blocker, or ARB. It is either used alone or with other antihypertensive agents.
In July 2013, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered the safety labels of these drugs be updated to include a warning that some users had developed a condition called sprue-like enteropathy, which can lead to complications such as significant weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, and electrolyte imbalance.
In one case, a woman was rushed to the emergency room after experiencing severe diarrhea, weight loss, nausea and vomiting that led to malnutrition and dehydration. The illness left her in need of close monitoring, and with severe emotional distress. She filed a lawsuit against Daiichi Sankyo alleging civil conspiracy, fraud, breach of express and implied warranty, negligence per se, negligent concealment, negligent infliction of emotional distress, loss of consortium and unjust enrichment. Her lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages, legal fees and costs.
Patients who are taking Benicar or other olmesartan medoxomil drugs should contact their doctors if they develop severe diarrhea, diarrhea that won’t go away, or substantial weight loss, even if it takes months or years for the symptoms to develop. Those who are diagnosed with sprue-like enteropathy should consider talking with an attorney, as they could have a case against the manufacturer.