Olmesartan medoxomil, a prescription blood pressure medication marketed under the trade names Benicar, Benicar HCT, Azor and Tribenzor, has recently been linked to a severe gastrointestinal (GI) disease called sprue-like enteropathy. In July 2013, the FDA announced that labels of olmesartan-containing drugs would be updated to include information about enteropathy, whose symptoms may include chronic diarrhea, weight loss, nausea and vomiting.
Free Benicar Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one developed enteropathy after using Benicar (olmesartan), you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a lawsuit and our lawyers can help.
What is Benicar?
Benicar is an angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB) prescribed for the treatment of high blood pressure (hypertension). The drug has always been known to cause diarrhea, but after evaluating injury reports in the medical literature, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has determined that there is a definitive link between Benicar and sprue-like enteropathy. FDA believes this to be a drug-specific adverse effect rather than a class effect pertaining to all ARB medications.
What’s the Difference Between Celiac Disease and Sprue-like Enteropathy?
True celiac sprue, which is also commonly referred to as celiac disease or gluten-sensitive enteropathy, is a digestive tract disorder characterized by gluten intolerance. When individuals with celiac sprue eat gluten, an inflammatory response occurs that causes damage to the mucosa of the intestines, destroying the intestinal villi and flattening the lining of the intestine; this process is referred to as intestinal villous atrophy. The damage to the mucosa results in digestive problems and the malabsorption of important food nutrients. Common symptoms of celiac sprue include chronic diarrhea, flatulence, and abnormal weight loss. Because of the immune response in celiac sprue, an antibody assay called the immunoglobulin A anti-tissue transglutaminase antibody (IgA-tTG) test will be positive. Sprue-like enteropathy mimics celiac sprue; the patient experiences chronic diarrhea, weight loss, and intestinal villous atrophy—but the IgA-tTG test will come back negative.
How is Enteropathy Treated?
In July 2013, the FDA issued a Drug Safety Communication which stated that Benicar warning labels would be updated to include information about the risk of sprue-like enteropathy. According to the letter, the onset of enteropathy can occur 2 years or even longer after patients begin treatment with Benicar. Nurses should be aware of this risk and assess patients who have been using Benicar for diarrhea and weight loss and provide education about the symptoms of sprue-like enteropathy. If the patient begins having diarrhea and losing weight, the problem should be reported to the prescriber. If it’s determined that true celiac sprue isn’t present, treatment with Benicar should be discontinued in favor of another blood pressure medication with fewer potential side effects.
Do I have a Benicar Lawsuit?
The Product Liability & Defective Drug Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Benicar lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new Benicar Enteropathy cases in all 50 states.
Free Benicar Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one was diagnosed with enteropathy after taking Benicar, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a Benicar Suit and our lawyers can help.