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
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
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 & Honik, P.C. today by calling