Plaintiffs in Benicar Enteropathy Litigation Required to Produce Records, Judge Rules
May 9, 2017 – Plaintiffs in lawsuits alleging gastrointestinal side effects from Benicar have been ordered to produce documents supporting the testimony of expert witnesses. U.S. Magistrate Judge Joel Schneider allowed for the records to be redacted to remove all personal identifying information. However, Schneider also ruled that the witnesses nonetheless must produce or make available for inspection by Daiichi Sankyo and other defendants medical records the physicians considered in reaching their opinions, saying such disclosure was required under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and applicable case law.
Benicar Linked to Sprue-Like Enteropathy, GI Side Effects: FDA Warning
In July 2013, the FDA issued a Drug Safety Communication which stated that Benicar and other olmesartan-containing blood pressure medications may cause sprue-like enteropathy, a rare gastrointestinal illness that presents like celiac disease. The agency made this determination after investigating adverse event reports which included 23 cases of olmesartan users who had suffered celiac disease-like symptoms, which did not improve with a gluten-free diet (most cases of celiac disease can be treated by taking gluten out of the patient’s diet).
According to the FDA:
“Symptoms of sprue-like enteropathy include severe, chronic diarrhea with substantial weight loss. The enteropathy may develop months to years after starting olmesartan, and sometimes requires hospitalization (see Data Summary). If patients taking olmesartan develop these symptoms and no other cause is found, the drug should be discontinued, and therapy with another antihypertensive started. Discontinuation of olmesartan has resulted in clinical improvement of sprue-like enteropathy symptoms in all patients.”
Mayo Clinic Study
In August 2012, a report published in the online edition of Mayo Clinic Proceedings described 22 olmesartan users who reported experiencing symptoms similar to those produced by celiac disease. Of these patients, 14 had symptoms so severe that they required emergency hospitalization.
These patients were unresponsive to a gluten-free diet, and tested negative for celiac disease in blood tests. However, after discontinuing treatment with olmesartan, all 22 patients’ symptoms improved, and they gained back a significant portion of the weight they had lost. After observing these results, researchers determined that there was indeed a causal link between Benicar and sprue-like enteropathy.
A number of patients have also reported developing kidney failure after taking Benicar. This side effect is thought to occur because Benicar can increase creatinine levels in the bloodstream. Creatinine is a compound that is produced by metabolism of creatine and excreted in the urine. Elevated levels of this compound in the body are a known symptom of kidney disease. Additionally, in rare cases, Benicar side effects may include muscle damage that can cause kidney failure.
Side Effects of Benicar
Benicar has been linked to the following serious side effects:
- Chronic diarrhea
- Intestinal problems
- Sprue-like enteropathy
- Acute kidney failure (renal failure)
- Bloody urine
- Muscle damage
- Irregular heartbeat
- High levels of uric acid in the blood
- Life-threatening allergic reactions
- Giant hives
- Low blood pressure (hypotension)
Other, more moderate side effects of Benicar may include:
- Inflammation of the Lining of the Stomach and Intestines
- Hair Loss
- Joint Pain
- Muscle Pain
- Sensation of Spinning or Whirling
- Fluid Retention in the Legs, Feet, Arms or Hands
- Puffy Face from Water Retention
- Chest Pain
- Throwing Up
- Stomach Cramps
- Feeling Weak
- High Cholesterol
- High Amounts of Potassium in the Blood
Benicar Diarrhea Lawsuit Filed in Texas
In February 2014, a lawsuit was filed against drugmaker Daiichi Sankyo on behalf of George Edward William, a Texas man who allegedly suffered severe GI side effects after taking Benicar. According to the complaint, William experienced chronic diarrhea, dehydration, weight loss, nausea, vomiting and malnutrition that required him to be hospitalized for over 100 days. Because his doctors were unable to diagnose the condition, Williams was hospitalized approximately 10 times over four years as doctors tried to figure out what was causing his illness. As a result of his prolonged hospitalization, Williams’ back was fractured and he developed cataracts on his eyes from steroid drugs, and was left with permanent damage to his intestines.
Daiichi Presses for Consolidation of New Jersey Lawsuits
May 19 – Daiichi filed a request today with the New Jersey Supreme Court to formally centralize dozens of lawsuits in the state alleging that Benicar caused users to develop sprue-like enteropathy, according to Law 360. The company requested consolidation to conserve judicial resources while avoiding duplicate discovery and conflicting rulings by different judges.
“Centralized management in a multicounty litigation venue, with an experienced judge, will help ensure fairness to parties, provide a streamlined approach to case management and avoid the possibility of duplicative motion practice and inconsistent discovery rulings between multiple judges in Atlantic and Hudson counties,” Daiichi said in the application.
As of July 15, 2015, at least 915 Benicar Lawsuits are pending in New Jersey federal court before Judge Robert B. Kugler. That number is up from only 70 complaints filed just a month earlier – a dramatic increase. The lawsuits accuse Daiichi Sankyo Inc. of designing Benicar in a defective manner, and failing to warn that the drug could cause chronic diarrhea, nausea, malnutrition, dehydration, weight loss and sprue-like enteropathy.
Do I Have a Benicar Lawsuit?
The Product Liability & Defective Drug Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Benicar lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new cases in all 50 states.
Free Confidential Case Evaluation: If you or a loved one has been injured by the side effects of Benicar (olmesartan), you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a class action suit and our lawyers can help.