Benicar is a blood pressure drug linked to sprue-like enteropathy, a gastrointestinal disease that causes chronic diarrhea, severe weight-loss, intestinal damage, and malnutrition.
Need a Texas Benicar Lawyer? Collen A. Clark is a true advocate for his clients and is passionate about helping Texans that have been injured or wronged. If you or a loved one was diagnosed with sprue-like enteropathy, you should contact our lawyers immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a lawsuit.
Benicar (olmesartan) is an anti-hypertensive medication made by Daiichi Sankyo. It belongs to a class of drugs known as Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers (ARBs), which reduce blood pressure by relaxing muscles lining blood vessels.
Benicar and Sprue-Like Enteropathy
Benicar has been on the market since 2002, but it was not linked to sprue-like enteropathy until 2012. The discovery was made by Dr. Joseph Murray and results were published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
Dr. Murray treated 22 patients with chronic diarrhea and severe weight-loss. After ruling out a diagnosis of Celiac disease, he realized their symptoms were caused by Benicar. All of the patients improved after stopping Benicar.
FDA Safety Warning
In 2013, the FDA said there was “clear evidence” linking Benicar and sprue-like enteropathy. The agency issued a Safety Communication and ordered drug-makers to update the label with stronger warnings.
The FDA found 23 reports of serious diarrhea and weight-loss in their adverse event database. However, it is likely that many cases were never reported because sprue-like enteropathy was not on the label.
What is Sprue-Like Enteropathy?
Sprue-like enteropathy is a gastrointestinal disease that causes chronic inflammation of the small intestines and frequent bouts of watery diarrhea. The symptoms resemble Celiac disease (also known as “sprue”), which is why patients are often misdiagnosed. However, sprue-like enteropathy is caused by Benicar rather than gluten.
How Common is Sprue-Like Enteropathy?
Over 2 million patients have taken Benicar. As of mid-2016, over 1,500 lawsuits had been filed by people who say they experienced gastrointestinal problems. The FDA only reported a few dozen cases, but researchers say sprue-like enteropathy “may not be rare.”
Symptoms of Sprue-Like Enteropathy
- Chronic diarrhea
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea, vomiting
- Abdominal pain
- Intestinal damage
- Villous atrophy
Intestinal Damage and Malnutrition
Over time, chronic diarrhea damages the intestines. This complication is called villous atrophy. It occurs when the carpet of finger-like tentacles lining the upper intestine (called villi) erode away, leaving flat spots on the intestinal wall that do not absorb nutrients from food. This can lead to chronic malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies.
Colon perforation is a rare but life-threatening complication associated with sprue-like enteropathy. It occurred in a 52 year-old woman who used Benicar and experienced diarrhea 20 times per day for a year, which resulted in a 45-pound weight loss in 6 months.
Diagnosis & Treatment
Sprue-like enteropathy may be diagnosed in patients on Benicar with diarrhea who do not improve on a gluten-free diet. Intestinal damage (villous atrophy) can be diagnosed with an endoscopy procedure or a biopsy. Treatment will likely involve discontinuing Benicar and switching to another blood pressure drug under a doctor’s supervision.
Need a Benicar Lawyer in Texas?
Collen A. Clark is a true advocate for his clients and is passionate about helping Texans that have been injured or wronged.
Collen’s amazing success in the courtroom and well known dedication to his clients has earned him the recognition of his peers as one of The Top Trial Lawyers in Texas.”
The Clark Firm has assembled a team of trial lawyers with more than 100 years experience, participation in over 600 jury trials and $260 million in verdicts and/or settlements. Please use the form below to contact our Texas Benicar lawyers for a free lawsuit review.