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Benicar and Sprue-Like
Enteropathy

Benicar is a high-blood pressure medication that has been linked to causing a rare condition: sprue-like enteropathy. This disease attacks your intestinal villi, significantly affecting your body’s ability to absorb nutrients and sending food and drink through your system much faster than is normal or healthy.

Case Quick Facts

The Problem

Benicar is an angiotensin II blood pressure medication that works to reduce high blood pressure. The active ingredient, which is unique to the Benicar product, olmesartan medoxomil, is broken down in the gastrointestinal tract. In 2013, after evaluating a number of adverse event reports, the FDA warned that Benicar can cause sprue-like enteropathy or olmesartan-induced enteropathy. This condition damages the villi in the small intestine, prohibiting the body from absorbing vital nutrients.

The Injuries

Sprue-like enteropathy or olmesartan-induced enteropathy can cause severe symptoms all leading to the potential need for hospitalization and use of feeding tubes. These symptoms include:

  • Chronic, severe diarrhea
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Abdominal pain/cramping/bloating
  • Extreme, unintentional weight loss
  • Malabsorption
  • Hypokalemia
  • Villous atrophy (identified with biopsy)
  • Death
The Defendant(s)

The active ingredient in Benicar, olmesartan medoxomil, is what has been linked to causing sprue-like enteropathy. That ingredient is found in four of the Benicar product lines, Benicar, Benicar HCT, Azor, and Tribenzor. All of these products are made by Daiichi Sankyo, Inc.

GoldenbergLaw Can Help

The Benicar litigation has been consolidated into a multidistrict litigation in New Jersey Federal Court. On August 1, 2017, Daiichi Sankyo announced it had agreed to pay up to $300 million to settle all qualifying cases in the MDL. The settlement is ongoing, however the deadline for new plaintiff entry has passed and GoldenbergLaw is no longer able to accept new Benicar cases.

If you have questions about the Benicar lawsuit, our lawyers in Minneapolis are available to talk you through the case.

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Sprue-Like Enteropathy

Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers

Within the family of antihypertensive medications, Benicar is classified as an angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB). Angiotensin is a hormone that causes blood vessels to narrow. It works by blocking angiotensin from binding to the receptor site, which prevents blood vessels from constricting.

Sprue-Like Enteropathy

Sprue-like enteropathy (olmesartan-associated enteropathy): A medical condition where the villi of the small intestine become damaged and blunted and are no longer able to serve their function of absorbing nutrients into the bloodstream. This lack of function can result in severe intestinal malabsorption.

Celiac Disease v. Sprue-Like Enteropathy

Patients can often be misdiagnosed with celiac disease due to the similarity in symptoms. If a patient is adhering to a gluten-free diet and their symptoms persist, it is likely they do not have celiac disease. Patients can often be misdiagnosed with celiac disease due to the similarity in symptoms. If a patient is adhering to a gluten-free diet and their symptoms persist, it is likely they do not have celiac disease.

How are they similar?

  • Symptoms include chronic diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and weight loss
  • Causes damage to villi of the small intestine (villous atrophy), leading to malabsorption of nutrients

How are they different?

  • Symptoms lessen or disappear if the patient adheres to a gluten-free diet.

July 3, 2013 FDA Safety Announcement

  • FDA required Benicar to change its label in order to properly address the connection between olmesartan products and sprue-like enteropathy.
  • Advised doctors to discontinue prescribing Benicar to patients develop symptoms such as severe, chronic diarrhea with substantial weight-loss without an apparent cause.

Studies

E.V. Marietta, et al. Immunopathogenesis of olmesartan-associated enteropathy, 2015

In Marietta, the authors reviewed biopsies of the intestine for individuals taking olmesartan. They found that there was an increase of over expression of certain cells that results in damage to the villi in the small intestine as compared to the individuals not taking olmesartan.

Studies

Rubio-Tapia, et al. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 2012

The Rubio-Tapia study, released by a number of physicians at the Mayo Clinic in 2012, was the preeminent study on olmesartan-induced enteropathy. The physicians identified the condition in a number of their patients and discovered that when taking the patients off Benicar, the symptoms resolved shortly thereafter, thus linking the drug use to the condition.

Studies

Basson, Mickael, et al. Severe Malabsorption Associated with Olmesartan: A French Nationwide Cohort Study, 2015

The Bassan study was a 2015 cohort study that reviewed data from the French National Health Insurance claim database. The authors found that after reviewing 4,546,680 patients, there was an increased risk of hospitalization from malabsorption, a condition of olmesartan-induced enteropathy, with olmesartan users. The rate of risk substantially increased the longer the user was taking olmesartan to the point where if the individual was on the drug.

Why Choose GoldenbergLaw?

If you find yourself in the middle of a Benicar side effects lawsuit, GoldenbergLaw has the people and resources to help you out. Our team of Benicar lawsuit lawyers has experience in related cases and will fight to bring you justice.

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