Daiichi Sankyo Agrees to Pay Benicar Users $300 Million
On Tuesday, August 1st, 2017 a settlement was reached between the maker of popular blood pressure medications Benicar, Azor, and Tribenzor and their users for $300 million dollars to be paid out to those who experienced intestinal issues, such as chronic diarrhea, sprue-like enteropathy, villous atrophy, symptoms of celiac disease, misdiagnosis of celiac disease, drug induced enteropathy and other similar gastrointestinal disorders.
Olmesartan, the compound found in Benicar, Azor and Tribenzor, medications is prescribed worldwide to patients who are suffering from hypertension, high blood pressure, or congestive heart failure, and was considered safe with very low incidents of adverse side effects, which were no more severe than dizziness.
The $300 million settlement was reached without the manufacturer admitting to negligence and failure to warn patients of injuries and adverse side effects that they may have been experiencing for years without knowing the connection to their hypertension medication, olmesartan.
Discovering a Connection to Sprue-like Enteropathy
From 2008 to 2011, Mayo Clinic doctors reported treating 22 users of olmesartan who were considered to have life threatening intestinal disorders, mimicking celiac disease. Some of the symptoms they were experiencing include:
Most of the patients who were on Benicar, Azor, and Tribenzor who were treated for these symptoms of sprue-like enteropathy lost an average of 40 pounds of body weight and required hospitalization. Because of the similarities between their condition and celiac disease, they were put on gluten-free diets to which they showed no significant health improvements. The same patients were then taken off their blood pressure medication (olmesartan) and the result was that the health of every patient dramatically improved.
FDA Requires New Warning on Benicar, Azor and Tribenzor
Over the same time period, many reports were submitted through the FDA’s Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS) regarding Benicar, Azor, and Tribenzor users’ side effects. The adverse side effects reported were almost identical to those of celiac disease and supported exactly what the Mayo Clinic doctors found.
By 2013 the FDA had enough information regarding patient injuries related to olmesartan medications that it forced the manufacturer to change their warning labels linking Benicar, Azor, and Tribenzor to sprue-like enteropathy. The medication, however, had already been on the market for 10 years and prescribed to 10’s of millions of unwitting patients.
How to Diagnose Sprue-like Enteropathy
Sprue-like enteropathy can develop months to years after patients are on the blood pressure medication containing olmesartan and may lead to hospitalization due to the rapid weight loss and dehydration associated with the diarrhea. Unlike celiac disease that only refers to chronic diarrhea, drug-induced enteropathy also includes:
Olmesartan-induced enteropathy sufferers will not respond positively to a gluten free diet and may only see improvements in their symptoms by removing them from their blood pressure medication.
What You Need to do Now
The $300 million settlement that was reached this week included a condition that any and all eligible claims are filed no later than September 1, 2017, giving users of Benicar, Azor and Tribenzor who suffered injuries only 3 weeks to join the lawsuit. Those who have had any of the symptoms listed, been diagnosed with sprue-like enteropathy or misdiagnosed with celiac disease must contact our law firm as soon as possible to allow time for us to qualify your claim and acquire all the necessary medical documents showing your reaction to the olmesartan hypertension medication.
If you are experiencing intestinal discomfort, vomiting, or diarrhea, it is important that you see a health professional to discuss changing your blood pressure medication to something other than those containing olmesartan.
If you took Benicar, Benicar HTC or the olmesartan-containing and developed sprue-like enteropathy, you may be entitled to a settlement. Cases are settling now, it is important that you act immediately. Contact Schmidt National Law Group today for a free case evaluation by calling 1-800-631-5656 or use the form on the right-hand side of the screen.
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Benicar lawsuit claims and settlements page updated on August 3, 2017