Benicar (olmesartan) is a blood pressure medication that keeps blood vessels from narrowing, which lowers blood pressure and improves blood flow. Benicar is used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) in adults and children who are at least 6 years old. It is sometimes given together with other blood pressure medications.
Benicar is an angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB). It works by blocking a substance in the body that causes the blood vessels to tighten. As a result, olmesartan relaxes the blood vessels. This lowers blood pressure and increases the supply of blood and oxygen to the heart. This medicine is available only with your doctor’s prescription.
From 2002 to 2008, the manufacturer Daiichi Sankyo spent approximately $1 billion promoting its Benicar and Benicar HCT. The company claimed the drug was superior to other drugs in its class in safety and effectiveness. However, according to studies and the FDA, no other drugs in the angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB) class have been found to cause severe intestinal issues known as sprue-like enteropathy. The symptoms of this condition include severe, chronic diarrhea with substantial weight loss.
People who take Benicar also may suffer from a condition known as villous atrophy. This is a disorder that causes the lining of the intestines to lose its texture and makes it difficult to absorb nutrients. This leads to malnourishment, which can cause other digestive issues.
In some cases, people injured by Benicar went to several doctors and may have ended up in a hospital because of dehydration, chronic diarrhea and malnutrition. Filing a lawsuit against Daiichi Sankyo may allow people to get compensation for medical bills and other damages.
Many people who suffer from digestive issues because of Benicar might not realize the drug is to blame. The severe chronic diarrhea caused by the drug can be mistaken for other diseases like Celiac disease — an allergy to gluten, a protein found in grains — or other intestinal issues.