Benicar Lawsuit Filed After Repeated Hospitalizations with Diarrhea, Malnutrition
An Ohio woman who says she has been hospitalized multiple times in recent years with chronic diarrhea, malnutrition, kidney failure, severe anemia and other health problems, has filed a product liability lawsuit alleging that the issues were caused by side effects of Benicar.
In a complaint (PDF) filed against Daiichi Sankyo and Forest Laboratories in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio on October 15, Brenda Baugh claims the drug makers failed to adequately warn about the risk of sprue-like enteropathy from Benicar.
Baugh indicates that she used the blood pressure medication as directed by her doctor and developed various injuries, including chronic diarrhea, rapid weight loss, nausea, vomiting, malnutrition, dehydration and acute renal failure. As a result of these injuries, she indicates that she was hospitalized on multiple occasions because her doctors were unaware of the link between Benicar and the gastrointestinal symptoms.
The case joins a growing number of Benicar lawsuits being pursued by individuals nationwide involving similar reports of chronic diarrhea, malnutrition, dehydration and other complications associated with sprue-like enteropathy, which most consumers and doctors only recently learned may be caused by the use of the medication.
Benicar Diarrhea and Gastrointestinal Problems
Benicar is a widely used hypertension drug manufactured by Daiichi Sankyo, which includes a several different medications in the same family that contain the active ingredient olmesartan, including Benicar HCT, Azor and Tribenzor.
Although the medication has been on the market for more than 10 years, the first Benicar warnings about the risk of sprue-like enteropathy were not provided until June 2013, when the FDA issued a drug safety communication indicating that side effects of the medication may cause symptoms like diarrhea and other intestinal problems to develop months or even years after first use of the drug.
Like Baugh, many Benicar users are now discovering that they have been fighting the side effects of Benicar for years without understanding the underlying cause of the problems, resulting in misdiagnosis, unnecessary medical treatments and repeated hospitalization.
“Most, if not all patients with olmesartan-related intestinal and colonic manifestations, go for months or even years treating with multiple physicians, undergoing testing, being misdiagnosed, and receiving ineffective treatments before finally being properly diagnosed,” the lawsuit filed by Baugh notes. “Further, the relationship of Plaintiff’s injuries to olmesartan exposure through the Defendants’ products was inherently difficult to discover.”
In many cases, the Benicar problems have been misdiagnosed as Celiac disease or unclassified sprue, resulting in continued use of the medication, which could leave users with long-term intestinal damage.
Although the diarrhea symptoms from Benicar typically resolve when the medication is no longer used, the problems can cause permanent damage to the intestines, often referred to as villous atrophy.
Baugh is one of the first plaintiffs to file their claim in the federal court system, as most of the prior lawsuits have been brought in New Jersey state court. Baugh’s complaint pursues claims against Daiichi Sankyo and Forest Laboratories for designing a defective drug, failure to warn, strict liability, negligence and gross negligence, negligent misrepresentation, fraudulent concealment, fraud, civil conspiracy, breach of warranty, and failure to comply with federal drug safety requirements. The lawsuit seeks both compensatory and punitive damages.
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