A Benicar lawsuit may be an option for patients who took the medication and experienced debilitating and severe gastrointestinal issues and other complications. Benicar is a blood pressure medication sold by Daiichi Sankyo and Forest Laboratories. The drug is a member of a class of medications known as angiotensin II receptor blockers, or ARBs. While the drug is effective in lowering blood pressure for many patients, some patients claim to have experienced serious complications, including sprue-like enteropathy. Affected patients and their families may be eligible for compensation with the help of a dangerous drug attorney.
For more information, contact Attorney Group today. We can answer your questions and help you determine whether you have a claim against the drug maker. You could be eligible to recover damages for your condition. If you have a case, we can connect you with an affiliated attorney who can file a Benicar lawsuit on your behalf.
Have You Seen a Benicar Lawsuit Commercial?
You may have seen Benicar lawsuit commercial on television and wondered whether you or a loved one have been affected by Benicar and, if so, whether you are eligible to pursue a claim against the manufacturer or others. The purpose of this article is to provide you with additional information so that you have a better understanding of your options.
What Is Benicar?
Benicar is the brand name for a medication generically known as olmesartan medoxomil. While many patients use this type of medication to keep their blood pressure under control, it can also prevent kidney problems, strokes and heart attacks. Benicar is able to lower blood pressure and help with other medical problems because it contains a specific medical agent that is supposed to block angiotensin II, according to Daiichi Sankyo, Inc., the manufacturer of Benicar.
When people are diagnosed with high blood pressure, it means their vessels have tightened up, thereby restricting blood flow. This is often caused by the presence of angiotensin II, a chemical that occurs naturally in the body. When angiotensin II is blocked by Benicar, the blood vessels can relax and expand, thereby reducing the pressure within them. Many patients who have high blood pressure take Benicar to manage their condition. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in 2012 alone, approximately 10.6 million prescriptions of Benicar were issued to patients. Additionally, about 1.9 million people received a prescription containing Olmesartan during this same year.
Potential Benicar Side Effects and Complications
Some of the less serious side effects patients may experience when they take Benicar include:
- Stomach pain
- A rash or itching
- Joint, muscle or back pain
However, those who take Benicar may also experience more severe side effects. These may include symptoms that resemble an allergic reaction, such as:
- Breathing problems
- Hives and a swollen mouth, lips, face or throat
- Dark-colored urine or a change in the amount of urine that is produced
- An irregular heartbeat and chest pain
- Swollen feet, hands and ankles.
Some patients have also reported developing serious intestinal problems, chronic diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, weight loss, and difficulty breathing associated with taking Benicar.
Benicar and Sprue-Like Enteropathy
Although patients can take steps to minimize the severity of the side effects they experience as a result of taking a medication with the help of their medical provider, in some cases, the drug presents complications that cannot be prevented. In addition to serious medical concerns like urine changes and an irregular heartbeat, many patients claim that after taking Benicar, they suffered from a condition known as sprue-like enteropathy. The FDA states that this condition can cause severe, chronic diarrhea and significant weight loss.
For some patients who allege that they developed sprue-like enteropathy after taking Benicar, the condition developed several months after they had been on the medication, while for others this serious medical condition began years after they had started taking the prescription drug. Although some patients needed to spend time in the hospital after developing sprue-like enteropathy, discontinuation of this drug generally relieved its symptoms among patients.
One of the reasons why doctors may not identify the symptoms of sprue-like enteropathy correctly for months or even years after Benicar is prescribed is because these symptoms can be confused with celiac disease. However, when blood tests are taken, antibodies will show that Celiac disease exists.
Comparatively, those who exhibit the signs of sprue-like enteropathy while on Benicar will not be diagnosed with celiac disease after bloodwork is taken. According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, celiac disease is a condition where an immune response that attacks the small intestine is initiated by the body after foods containing gluten are consumed.
After receiving many reports that Benicar may cause serious medical conditions, including sprue-like enteropathy, the FDA evaluated the connection between this medical condition and medications containing Olmesartan. After identifying 23 serious cases where the patient suffered from sprue-like enteropathy after taking Olmesartan, the agency affirmed that there was an association between Benicar and this serious medical condition.
Researchers from the Mayo Clinic also published a case series in June of 2012 that explored the connection between taking Olmesartan and sprue-like enteropathy. In this case series, 22 patients were evaluated and while they were taking this medication, they experienced diarrhea, severe weight loss and villous atrophy, a condition which damages the villi in the small intestine. In 18 of these cases, the patients showed that they had made clinical improvements or recovered entirely after they stopped taking Olmesartan.
After taking into account the data they collected from their evaluation and the results from the Mayo Clinic case series, the FDA issued a safety communication stating that taking medications like Benicar can cause sprue-like enteropathy. As part of this warning, the organization also stated that all medications containing Olmesartan must include this warning on their labeling.
FDA Recommendations for Patients
Since Benicar has the potential to cause serious side effects, the FDA has released several guidelines for patients who are on this medication to follow. For example, patients taking Benicar should:
- notify their doctor as soon as possible if they begin to have diarrhea or if they lose a significant amount of weight;
- be open about their symptoms so that their health care provider can determine the cause of their complications if they start experiencing problems while on Benicar; and
- continue to take their medication until they consult with their physician about no longer taking Benicar for the purpose of reducing their blood pressure.
It is also recommended that patients turn to their health care provider if they have any questions about Benicar or if they have concerns about taking this medication.
In addition to these recommendations for patients on Benicar, the FDA has several guidelines for health care providers who have patients taking this medication. For instance, doctors should tell their patients to notify them if they experience severe, chronic diarrhea or lose a significant amount of weight while taking Benicar, even if they do not notice these symptoms for several months to several years after they are prescribed this medication.
It is also recommended that if patients develop these symptoms while on Benicar, physicians should investigate other causes, like celiac disease, that might be causing these side effects. If doctors are unable to find another cause, they should put their patients on another medication designed to treat hypertension.
Benicar Lawsuit Claims
According to plaintiffs pursuing claims for compensation against Benicar’s manufacturer, the drug maker failed to adequately warn the medical community and consumers about the possible side effects of Benicar, causing affected patients to unnecessarily suffer for years from a misdiagnosis of celiac disease, villous atrophy, substantial weight loss, chronic diarrhea, vomiting, and/or nausea.
As a result of the manufacturer’s alleged failure to adequately research and publicize the potential side effects of the medication or provide adequate warnings to physicians and patients, Benicar lawsuits have been filed on behalf of individuals across the country.
According to plaintiffs, Benicar use caused them to develop:
- Chronic malnourishment
- Stomach problems
- Chronic diarrhea resulting in hospitalization
- Sprue-like enteropathy
In one of these cases, Verduzco v. Daiichi Sankyo, Inc., two patients claim that they developed personal injuries, such as sprue-like enteropathy, lymphocytic colitis, villous atrophy, collagenous colitis and intestinal malabsorption, from taking Benicar. Both plaintiffs involved in this case allege that the medication caused rapid weight loss, acute renal failure, chronic diarrhea and dehydration and that they require continual medical monitoring as a result.
Additionally, this lawsuit claims that the FDA was concerned about some of the statements the manufacturer of Benicar made back in 2006. These claims stated that the manufacturer and marketer of the medication advertised Benicar in a way that showcased it as being better and safer than other drugs in its same class and that the marketing failed to include information about the risks that this drug posed to patients.
The lawsuit also alleges that the manufacturers of Benicar failed to perform proper testing in order to prove that this medication was an effective method for treating high blood pressure.
Lauren A. on May 16, 2016
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Has There Been a Benicar Settlement?
While Daiichi Sankyo, Inc., has yet to come to a settlement on any of the lawsuits that have been filed by patients, the company did settle in a case filed by the U.S. Department of Justice in April 2015. This case claimed, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, that the manufacturer of Benicar violated the False Claims Act by allegedly giving illegal kickbacks to physicians who prescribed this medication to their patients. The purpose of this legislation is to prevent the judgment of physicians from becoming compromised if they receive gifts or improper payments from other health care professionals, including manufacturers of medical devices and drugs.
Benicar Lawsuit News
- February 2017U.S. District Judge began scheduling oral arguments for May 2017, which could allow for bellwether trials to start by the end of the year.
- December 2016U.S. District Judge denies plaintiff's request to obtain partial summary judgment regarding the issue of facts relative to the case, specifically whether it's a medical fact that Benicar causes severe diarrhea.
- September 2016According to Law360, A New Jersey ruled that employees of Daiichi Sankyo's European unit will not be compelled to testify in Benicar litigation.
- July 2016According to the New Jersey Law Journal, a pending Benicar MDL has been narrowed to ten plaintiffs, however, the first trial will more than likely wait to begin until after depositions and pretrial motions have been completed in early 2017.
- April 2015According to a transfer order issued on April 3, 2015, all Benicar sprue-like enteropathy lawsuits pending throughout the federal court system will be centralized before U.S. District Judge Robert Kugler in the District of New Jersey as part of a federal MDL.
- January 2015According to the Justice Department, Daiichi Sankyo Inc., the manufacturer of Benicar, agreed to pay the United States and state Medicaid programs $39 million to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by allegedly paying kickbacks to induce physicians to prescribe their drugs, including Benicar.
- July 2013The FDA issued a safety warning about the link between side effects of Benicar and sprue-like enteropathy. The agency indicated that there is “clear evidence” of an association between Benicar and chronic diarrhea, weight loss and other related symptoms.
How a Benicar Lawsuit Can Help
Drug makers have a duty to provide safe products. If there are risks of harm associated with their products, they also must provide adequate warnings. If a drug maker fails to fulfill this duty, it could be held liable in lawsuits for injuries that may result.
People injured by Benicar may be eligible to recover money for:
Pain and Suffering
The families of those who have died may be eligible to recover money for funeral expenses and the pain that comes with losing a loved one.