October 17, 2014 — Daiichi Sankyo, the Japanese manufacturer of Benicar (olmesartan), has been hit with another lawsuit from a woman who claims it caused her to develop a chronic gastrointestinal illness.
The lawsuit (PDF) was filed on October 15 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.
The plaintiff, Brenda Baugh, is a resident of Ohio who was prescribed Benicar for high blood pressure. While taking the recommended dose, she developed severe intestinal and/or colonic disease, including:
- Sprue-like enteropathy
- Lymphocytic colitis
- Microscopic colitis
- Collagenous colitis
- Intestinal malabsorption
These diseases cause intestinal inflammation and chronic, non-bloody watery diarrhea. She suffered from chronic diarrhea, rapid weight-loss, nausea, vomiting, malnutrition, dehydration, and sudden kidney failure. She was hospitalized multiple times, but continues to suffer from long-term complications.
Daiichi Sankyo is facing a growing number of lawsuits accusing them of downplaying risk information linking Benicar and enteropathy. Evidence of a causal connection has grown substantially in recent years, with dozens of case reports suggesting that enteropathy may not be a rare side effect.
In July 2013, the FDA published a Safety Warning and ordered Daiichi Sankyo to update the label on Benicar. According to the FDA, symptoms of the disease can occur after a patient has been on Benicar for months or years. They are easily mistaken for Celiac disease (gluten intolerance), but a gluten-free diet does not cure symptoms. In most cases, patients improve after discontinuing olmesartan.
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