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Benicar Medication Lawsuit
Before prescribing powerful and potentially dangerous drugs, doctors and manufacturers have a responsibility to make sure it will not pose an undue risk to the patient’s health and safety and to warn patients of any risks they could face by using the drug. When such a responsibility is not met, patients have a right to pursue legal action against the liable parties.
At The Lawrence Firm, our Ohio and Kentucky medical malpractice attorneys have handled a variety of class action and multidistrict litigation cases involving dangerous drugs and products, including the prescription medication “Benicar.” If you’ve received injuries from a defective product or medication, call our mass tort attorneys at The Lawrence Firm at 800-698-4054 today.
What is Benicar?
Benicar is a type of medication that is used to treat high blood pressure or “hypertension” in patients. More specifically, it is an angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB) which blocks the hormone that causes vessel constriction, angiotensin II. The purpose of this medication is to prevent blood vessels from narrowing, which in turn improves blood flow while lowering blood pressure. Benicar may be prescribed in addition to other blood pressure medications and is marketed as being a viable treatment for adults and children over the age of six.
Benicar Generic Name
Benicar’s active ingredient is olmesartan medoxomil. Olmesartan is also an ingredient found in several other medications used to treat high blood pressure. In addition to the generic olmesartan, Benicar may be marketed as Benicar HCT (olmesartan with hydrochlorothiazide, a diuretic), Azor (olmesartan with amlodipine, a calcium channel blocker), or Tribenzor (olmesartan with hydrochlorothiazide and amlodipine).
Does Benicar Cause Hair Loss?
Though hair loss is not one of the most common side effects associated with olmesartan, there have been multiple reports of patients who have experienced hair loss or hair thinning since they began taking Benicar.
Benicar Side Effects
The risks of serious complications associated with Benicar are no secret within the medical community. For example, while there are several other ARBs available on the market, only Benicar has been shown to lead to an intestinal disorder called sprue like enteropathy. Sprue like enteropathy is a condition that is commonly misdiagnosed as the autoimmune disorder celiac disease, which causes the body to have trouble digesting certain proteins known as glutens. As a result, patients suffering negative effects from Benicar may be misdiagnosed as gluten intolerant and continue taking the harmful medication, thus prolonging their suffering and causing additional harm.
The misdiagnosis is due to the fact that the symptoms of sprue like enteropathy and celiac disease are very similar to one another, including symptoms of:
- Chronic diarrhea
- Significant weight loss
- Overall malnutrition
Along with malnutrition, substantial weight loss, chronic diarrhea, dehydration, and nausea, other symptoms associated with taking Benicar include:
- Swelling of the skin (angioedema)
- Chest pain
- Stomach pain
- Liver and kidney problems
- Irregular heartbeat
- Hair loss
Benicar Black Box Warning
Since discovering the connection between Benicar and sprue like enteropathy, the FDA (the U.S. Food and Drug Administration) required changes to the label of the blood pressure medication warning users of its potential to cause serious gastrointestinal injuries.
A black-box warning, which is the most serious warning a medication can have, also appears at the top of Benicar’s prescription material. The warning is enclosed within a box that has a thick black border, making sure it is easily seen by both healthcare professionals prescribing the drug and patients to whom it is being prescribed.
Benicar’s black box warning claims that pregnant women who use the medication face a significant risk of birth injuries and defects in unborn children and the risk of fetal death. As a result, women who are pregnant or want to become pregnant should avoid taking Benicar or other drugs containing olmesartan.
Gastrointestinal Injuries Inadequately Warned
Benicar manufacturer, Daiichi Sankyo Inc, is said to have spent $1 billion on aggressive marketing tactics. The marketing material in question claimed that Benicar was better than other ARBs due to its improved safety and efficacy profile, of which was never verified. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued two warnings to Daiichi Sankyo regarding the hazards associated with its usage. The warnings were sent in both 2006 and 2013 and alerted the manufacturer of the false, misleading claims made on behalf of the drug, suggesting that they were unsupported and the health risks (chronic diarrhea, weight loss, malnutrition, etc.) were not disclosed in marketing materials.
Concerns have also been raised surrounding research trials of the prescribed medication that lasted only three months, despite the fact that most individuals require treatment for high blood pressure for far longer. The claims suggest that the drug’s negative side effects would have been more obvious if the studies had been more representative of real-world usage.
Thousands of patients who were injured as a result of using Benicar filed lawsuits claiming that the dangers of Benicar were not properly disclosed in marketing materials by manufacturer Daiichi Sankyo. Some patients had to endure years of medical treatment for severe pain and physical debilitation as a result of their injuries. Others required hospitalization and were left with long-term injuries or disabilities, such as digestive system failure or the need for a permanent feeding tube.
Daiichi Sankyo has been sued several times for the use of aggressive marketing tactics, fraudulent advertising, and failing to alert the medical community and patients about the high risk of adverse effects. In 2017, Daiichi Sankyo and co-marketer Forest Laboratories said that they were planning to settle for up to $300 million to resolve Benicar lawsuits alleging sprue-like enteropathy and other severe gastrointestinal injuries linked to Benicar, Benicar HCT, Azor, and Tribenzor.
Contact Lawrence Firm Today if You’ve Received Injuries From Taking Benicar
Patients who have been harmed by Benicar or any other prescription medication are encouraged to speak with one of our Kentucky medical malpractice lawyers to learn about their rights and legal options. For more information, call The Lawrence Firm right away. You can reach our Covington law office at 859-578-9130 or our Cincinnati law office at 513-651-4130 any time to schedule your initial free consultation.
You Pay No Fees Unless We Win!
We are happy to offer a free consultation to evaluate your case. If you hire us as your legal counsel, we will represent you on a contingency-fee basis. You will pay no attorneys’ fees unless we recover financial damages.