May 26, 2015 — The number of federal lawsuits involving Benicar has nearly tripled since last month.
At least 45 lawsuits have been centralized in Multi-District Litigation (MDL No. 2606) in New Jersey, up from just 16 lawsuits on April 15, according to an update (PDF) from the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation (JPML).
All of the lawsuits accuse Daiichi Sankyo Inc. and Forest Laboratories of failing to warn about the risk of sprue-like enteropathy, a chronic intestinal disease that causes severe diarrhea, weight-loss, dehydration, malnutrition, nausea, and damage to the lining of the intestines (villous atrophy).
Unfortunately, because these symptoms mimic those of Celiac disease (gluten allergy), some patients were misdiagnosed and continued to suffer for years. The link between Benicar and sprue-like enteropathy was not well-known until a study was published by Dr. Joseph Murray, a gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic.
The year after that study was published, the FDA ordered a label change to warn about sprue-like enteropathy. By July 2013, nearly two dozen cases were reported to the FDA. The agency warned that it could take months or even years for symptoms of enteropathy to appear in patients on Benicar.
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