January 19, 2015 — Daiichi Sankyo, the manufacturer of Benicar, has been hit with a lawsuit on behalf of two men from California who developed severe intestinal side effects.
The lawsuit was filed on January 12 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
The plaintiffs include Louis Verduzco and Michael Ewald, who used Benicar for the treatment of high blood-pressure.
Both developed severe intestinal injuries, such as as sprue-like enteropathy, villous atrophy, lymphocytic colitis, microscopic colitis, collagenous colitis, and/or intestinal malabsorption.
These conditions caused them to suffer from chronic diarrhea, rapid weight loss, nausea, vomiting, malnutrition, dehydration, and/or acute renal failure.
Both had to undergo medical treatment and will need to be continually monitored for complications.
The claims in the lawsuit are nearly identical to dozens of other cases pending against Daiichi Sankyo and Forest Laboratories, the pharmaceutical companies that co-marketed Benicar from 2002-2008.
The drug-makers are accused of failing to warn about the dangers of Benicar. In 2006, the FDA issued a warning letter after finding that Benicar was advertised with “false or misleading” statements about its superiority to other blood-pressure medication.
Six years later, doctors in Minnesota linked Benicar to an unusual cluster of intestinal disease. They called the disease sprue-like enteropathy for its resemblance to Celiac sprue (gluten allergy).
Unlike Celiac disease, however, patients did not improve on a gluten-free diet — only discontinuing Benicar improved symptoms. Unfortunately, many patients were misdiagnosed for years because their doctor was not aware of the link between Benicar and diarrhea.
In July 2013, the FDA issued a Safety Communication to warn that Benicar, Benicar HCT, Azor, Tribenzor, and generic olmesartan can cause sprue-like enteropathy.
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