Benicar, also known by the generic name olmesartan medoxomil, is an angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB) approved for the treatment of high blood pressure, alone or in combination with other antihypertensive agents, and is one of eight currently marketed ARB drugs.
On July 3, 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a warning that the blood pressure drug olmesartan medoxomil, marketed as Benicar or Benicar HCT, can cause intestinal problems known as sprue-like enteropathy.
Researchers from the Mayo Clinic documented 22 cases of Benicar patients experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms similar to those of celiac disease, which stopped after the patients discontinued the drug. The American College of Gastroenterology identified 40 additional cases of sprue-like enteropathy in Benicar patients.
These gastrointestinal side effects of Benicar can cause a condition known as sprue-like enteropathy which can include nausea, vomiting, severe diarrhea, chronic malnutrition and weight loss, and electrolyte imbalance.
According to the manufacturer, side effects of Benicar at therapeutic dosages can include the following:
- Upper respiratory tract infections
- High blood uric acid levels
- There are also additional warning for patients with liver or kidney problems, lupus, and pregnant or breast-feeding patients.
Recently, the FDA has issued a warning to warn patients of more serious side effects of a condition known as sprue-like enteropathy, which can cause gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, malnutrition and electrolyte imbalance, chronic diarrhea, and extreme weight loss, sometimes requiring hospitalization.
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