Benicar is one of the leading blood pressure medications on the market today. Today, doctors write over 11 million prescriptions for patient per year. Benicar’s active ingredient, olmesartan, helps to lower blood pressure by keeping a patient’s blood vessels open, allowing the patients’ blood to flow more freely. Unfortunately, the same active ingredient that helps patients’ blood vessels work properly can wreak havoc on their intestines.
A recent French Study presented at this year’s Digestive Disease Week revealed an association between Benicar and severe intestinal malabsorption. Malabsorption is when the intestine cannot absorb, or improperly absorbs, food and nutrients. This study lends support to FDA’s 2013 warning that taking Benicar, manufactured by Japanese company Daiichi Sankyo, can lead to serious intestinal problems. The medical field refers to these problems as “sprue-like enteropathy.”
The French Study was conducted following the findings of a 2012 Mayo Clinic report on 22 cases of intestinal problems associated with olmesartan, the active ingredient in Benicar. The patients taking olmesartan came from 17 states and were treated for life threatening gastrointestinal symptoms similar to celiac disease, including diarrhea, weight loss, villous atrophy, and intestinal inflammation and abnormalities from 2008 to 2011. Eighteen patients had follow-up intestinal biopsies demonstrating recovery or improvement after discontinuation of olmesartan.
Symptoms of sprue-like enteropathy are often misdiagnosed as symptoms of Celiac Disease or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and include:
- Severe, chronic diarrhea
- Substantial weight loss
- Intestinal inflammation
- Villious atropy, erosion of the tiny villi in the intestines that help the body absorb nutrients
Ashcraft and Gerel, LLP is investigating possible lawsuits against the makers of Benicar. If you feel that you or someone you know should be compensated for harm caused by Benicar, please contact us online or call us at (800) 674-9725 to speak with an attorney today. All consultations are free and completely confidential.