While credit is due to
Benicar manufacturer, Daiichi Sankyo, for listing the potential side effects of
Benicar on the main Benicar landing page—saving the consumer from
having to go from one link to another—the company appears to have
omitted one of the primary side effects of the drug. While the site lists
various side effects with the drug used to regulate blood pressure, such
as dizziness, diarrhea, kidney problems and feeling faint, one of the
most serious potential side effects—sprue-like enteropathy—was omitted.
Serious, chronic diarrhea can cause significant weight loss—enough,
in fact, to land the patient in the hospital. Sprue-like enteropathy can
mimic the same symptoms as celiac disease, and, in fact, many doctors
misdiagnosed their patients taking Benicar with celiac. Sprue-like enteropathy
can be so serious that for some, death can result. The diarrhea which
is typical in sprue-like enteropathy can be chronic, leaving patients
bedridden or, at the very least, unable to venture far from a bathroom.
Sprue-like enteropathy can be particularly serious among the elderly,
as they can become dehydrated quickly following chronic diarrhea.
Study on Benicar Concludes a Link Between the Drug and Sprue-Like Enteropathy
Benicar is among a class of drugs known as angiotensin II receptor blockers,
however; sprue-like enteropathy associated with Benicar has not been linked
to other medications in the angiotensin II receptor-blocker class. The
Mayo Clinic conducted a study in 2012, concluding Benicar could be responsible
for sprue-like enteropathy. During a three-year period, 22 people who
were taking Benicar displayed symptoms which suggested celiac disease,
however the diagnosis was not supported by blood tests.
Once the patients discontinued Benicar, the adverse symptoms related to
Benicar quickly improved. In 2013, the FDA warned consumers about the
potential link between Benicar and sprue-like enteropathy. Among some
taking Benicar, the diarrhea attacks number more than 20 in a single day,
and some patients have lost as much as 100 pounds. This type of severe
weight loss, and the related complications, can trigger such additional
issues as infection and even cataracts.
Daiichi Sankyo Faces Civil Suits and Allegations of Fraud from the DOJ
Currently, there are more than 1,300 lawsuits filed against Daiichi Sankyo.
The initial Benicar bellwether trials are expected to begin late in 2016.
Daiichi Sankyo has even more problems to deal with—in addition to
the individual civil Benicar cases the company is facing, it also faced
allegations of fraud from the U.S. Department of Justice. In a September
2015 pretrial hearing, Judge Schneider asked Daiichi to submit a review
of documents related to a $39 million settlement with the Department of Justice.
The DOJ alleged Daiichi Sankyo payed kickbacks to doctors, even encouraging
them to prescribe specific drugs—including Benicar—and that
Daiichi was paying for lavish dinners and speaking engagements, even when
the doctors weren’t actually speaking. According to the DOJ, Daiichi
violated the False Claims Act. Although the DOJ settlement resolved allegations,
there was no determination made as far as liability, however Daiichi must
make internal compliance reforms over the next five years.
Contact Our National Benicar Lawsuit Attorneys
If you have been diagnosed with sprue-like enteropathy or have suffered
GI complications like chronic diarrhea and/or significant weight loss
after using Benicar, your injuries may be the result of a drug manufacturer's
negligence. To learn more about your legal options or to schedule a free
consultation with an attorney, please call the Philadelphia dangerous
drug lawyers at Golomb & Honik, P.C. today at
(215) 278-4449 or fill out our confidential