July 24, 2014 — The blood-pressure drug Benicar (olmesartan) has been linked to a severe case of sprue-like enteropathy that caused a colon perforation. Researchers in France have also linked Benicar to an increased risk of hospitalization for sprue-like enteropathy.
Case Reports in Gastrointestinal Medicine published the report. The patient was a 52 year-old woman who had been using Benicar (20-mg/day) for the last three years. In the last year, she reported chronic diarrhea lasting and a 45-pound weight loss in the last six months.
Her colon perforation was discovered after she went to a hospital complaining of severe nausea and abdominal pain. In the emergency room, she suffered a cardiac arrest and was diagnosed with a colon perforation. Doctors diagnosed her with sprue-like enteropathy and discontinued Benicar. One month later, her intestinal inflammation decreased and the colon perforation healed.
Higher Risk of Hospitalization for Gastrointestinal Problems
Last month, a French study discussed during the Digestive Disease Week (DDW) conference in Chicago found that patients on Benicar were 10-times more likely to be hospitalized with gastrointestinal symptoms compared to patients taking other blood-pressure drugs, including ACE inhibitors or ARBs. Conclusions were based on data from 4.5 million people in the French healthcare system who used Benicar from 2007-2012.
Evidence linking Benicar and enteropathy was first presented in 2012 by researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. In July 2013, the FDA issued a Safety Communication and warned that Benicar could potentially cause severe intestinal damage. A growing number of lawsuits have already been filed, including several from people who suffered for years because they were misdiagnosed with Celiac disease.
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