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Two California men are joining the growing number of individuals nationwide who are filing a product liability lawsuit alleging that side effects of Benicar caused them to suffer a severe gastronintestinal injury or symptoms of sprue-like enteropathy, which may cause chronic diarrea and abdominal pain.
In a complaint (PDF) filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on January 12, Louis Verduzco, of Oakland, and Michael Ewald and his wife, Mary, of Bakersfield, seek damages from Daiichi Sankyo and Forest Laboratories, alleging that the pharmaceutical companies failed adequately warn about the potential risks associated with the popular hypertension drug.
Both men indicate that they were prescribed Benicar for blood pressure control, and subsequently developed severe gastrointestinal problems that resulted in chronic diarrhea, rapid weight loss, nausea, vomiting, malnutrition, dehydration, and kidney failure.
The lawsuit indicates that the injuries were caused by a medical condition known as sprue-like enteropathy, which ultimately led to villous atrophy and a number of forms of colitis. As a result of the problems, both men were hospitalized and indicate that they have been left with permanent injury and the need for medical monitoring.
Verduzco and Ewald raise nearly identical claims to those presented in dozens of other Benicar lawsuits filed in recent months, which indicate that the drug makers knew or should have known about the risk of gastrointestinal injury for years, yet withheld information from consumers and the medical community.
Benicar Gastrointestinal Problems
The Benicar litigation has arisen since the FDA required the drug makers to update the warning label in July 2013, indicating for the first time that users of the users may face an increased risk of gastrointestinal injury from Benicar. The drug may cause sprue-like enteropathy, resulting in chronic diarrhea, abdominal pain, weight loss and other gastrointestinal problems that can surface months or even years after the medication is started.
Although the medication has been on the market for more than 10 years, information about the link between Benicar and gastrointestinal injury was not known within the medical community until the FDA warnings, resulting in many former users experiencing complications from the medication for years.
In many cases, users have repeatedly been hospitalizations because doctors were unaware that the symptoms may be caused by their blood pressure medication. The Benicar problems have often 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 associated with sprue-like enteropathy typically resolve when the medication is no longer used, the problems can cause permanent damage to the intestines, known as villous atrophy from Benicar.
As Benicar lawyers continue to review and evaluate cases over the coming months, it is widely expected that hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of additional claims will be filed.
Last month, a motion was filed with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, seeking to centralize all Benicar gastrointestinal injury lawsuits filed throughout the federal court system before one judge for coordinated pretrial proceedings, to reduce duplicative discovery into common issues, avoid conflicting pretrial rulings and to serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and the courts.