Patients with high blood pressure can use Benicar to keep their readings at a safe level. The medication directly influences the dilation rate of the blood vessels. Although the drug works without a hitch for many people, some individuals have developed distressing side effects. The adverse drug reactions cause patients immense distress in the form of constant diarrhea that leads to uncontrolled weight loss. Patients have the ability to pursue compensation for damages by filing a lawsuit with the state and national court systems.
Benicar was created to help patients keep their blood pressure regulated at a healthy level. Daiichi Sankyo, Inc. originally produced the drug in the early 2000s, with FDA approval coming through in 2002. The medication brings high blood pressure levels into range to avoid distressing complications. The active ingredient in the drug is called olmesartan, which is an angiotensin II receptor blocker.
The medication blocks angiotensin II to keep blood vessels from constricting and raising both the systolic and diastolic pressures to unhealthy levels. Physicians often pair this drug with other drugs for patients with uncontrolled pressure readings. As blood pressure levels come under control, doctors may switch the patient’s treatment protocol to Benicar alone.
Common Side Effects
Despite its efficiency in controlling blood pressure, physicians may hesitate to prescribe this medication to patients with a history of gastric distress. The chance of developing serious gastrointestinal side effects can cause patients extreme pain and discomfort, even well after stopping the treatment.
Common side effects include:
- Skin Rash
- Joint Pain
- Heartbeat Changes
- Skin Inflammation
After continued reports of gastric symptoms, the FDA released an initial warning statement for manufacturers to place on the drug label. As the condition continues, patients may exhibit advanced complications, such as severe weight loss, vitamin deficiencies, and intestinal damage.
The gastric symptoms are so severe that they mimic the effects of an advanced celiac disease. Patients may need to undergo extensive testing to determine if the condition is caused by the Benicar treatments or an underlying condition, like celiac disease. Physicians may perform skin and blood tests to check the patient’s system for allergies to wheat or other compounds. The tests usually come back within a few days after the appointment date.
If the tests reveal that the symptoms are side effects from the drug, not a health condition, the patient must stop taking the Benicar right away. Continuing to take the medication can cause additional damage, though cessation from the drug does not always fully eliminate the symptoms. Patients will need to find a suitable blood pressure regulation medication with help from their doctor. The physician will detail the potential side effects to help the patient avoid symptoms similar to the ones caused by Benicar.
Chronic diarrhea and stomach pain symptoms can wreak havoc on the patient’s gastrointestinal system over time. Intestinal damage disrupts the body’s ability to absorb necessary vitamins and minerals from the food the patient eats. Over time, the patient may suffer from malnutrition from low levels of these vital nutrients. Patients suffering from the side effects of Benicar often lose a significant amount of weight before the symptoms begin to resolve. If malnutrition symptoms are not resolved through vitamin injections or dietary improvements, the patient could possible start to develop liver impairment or kidney problems, such as partial or total failure.
Physicians may need to hospitalize patients who are unable to maintain healthy nutrient levels in the blood. In the hospital, nutrients are measured and corrected each day to help the patient remain stable as the gastrointestinal system heals. If healing is impeded by eating, or the patient is in too much pain to eat, the hospital may utilize total parenteral nutrition solutions to reduce stress on the system while providing the patient with metered nutrients and adequate calories.
Physicians at the Mayo Clinic were the first to notify the FDA about the link between Benicar treatments and celiac-like gastrointestinal side effects. After treating more than 20 patients with similar symptoms and high blood pressure medication histories, physicians made the connection and expressed their concern to the appropriate entity.
Each of the patients reported having diarrhea lasting up to 53 months without any improvement. Weight loss was also found across the board. The doctors abruptly took the patients off their daily Benicar dosage to determine if the symptoms would cease. Most of the patients felt considerably better after stopping the medication. Researchers attempted to recreate the findings using the ROADMAP database without any success.
Due to the risk of debilitating side effects, the FDA strictly indicates that the medication should only be utilized for patients in need of high blood pressure control. Although physicians previously used the drug to treat excess protein in the urine of diabetic patients, it is now disallowed. Benicar manufacturers have been ordered to complete ongoing studies to reveal the potential side effect risks in various groups of patients.
The ordered clinical studies covered the gastrointestinal side effects along with the risk of developing cardiovascular damage. Upon receiving more information, the FDA released a statement indicating a lack of cardiovascular risks related to Benicar treatments. Manufacturers were instructed to update the medication labels with warnings and information gathered throughout the clinical studies to keep patients well informed.
Pregnant patients are explicitly banned from utilizing Benicar at any point in the pregnancy. The drug carries a severe black box warning informing the patient of the risk of fetal toxicity. When taken in any of the three trimesters, the medication can have a severe impact on the fetus’ development and health.
Patients who develop serious side effects from Benicar treatments can seek compensation through court by filing a lawsuit. A legal representative will gauge the damage and collect evidence of the medication’s link to the patient’s list of reported side effects. Since many patients require ongoing care in a hospital setting, the lawsuit damage request will usually include a significant figure to handle future medical bills. Patients can also seek pain and suffering, lost wages and other costs associated with treating the side effects.
With the most recent FDA warning updates, patients started filing lawsuits against the manufacturer of Benicar. The first lawsuits were filed in the state of New Jersey, but the case quickly transferred to the federal court system. Since the federal court serves the populace across the nation, patients may have the option to convert the lawsuit to a class action suit. The legal representatives will need to prove that the drug manufacturer concealed the risk of side effects and failed to warn to obtain the highest compensation payouts.