What is Benicar?

Benicar is a drug also known as olmesartan medoxomil and is a prescription medication used for the treatment of hypertension (high blood pressure) and heart failure. The drug was developed by Sankyo in 1995 and has been sold under the name Benicar Olmecip(Cipla)Olsar. It is an angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB) and works by relaxing blood vessels so they can move blood with less effort.

Benicar Side Effects

Some of the serious side effects associated with Benicar include:

  • Muscle weakness and other symptoms of high potassium levels
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Fainting
  • Marked decrease in the amount of urine
  • Severe and persistent diarrhea

Complications from Benicar

With over 1.2 million prescriptions written for the drug in 2010 alone, it is essential to know what the possible complications could be. One such complication is a serious gastrointestinal condition known as sprue-like enteropathy. It is marked by intestinal problems that include severe, chronic diarrhea coupled with substantial weight loss, the severity of which can sometimes lead to extended hospitalization and lifelong complications.

Those who take the drug may also develop a serious a condition known as villous atrophy. This disorder causes the lining of the intestines to lose their texture which makes it difficult for the body to absorb nutrients. This leads to severe weight loss and malnourishment, which can cause other major health issues.

Benicar FDA Warning of 2014

In 2010 and after several complaints against the drug, the Food and Drug Administration announced that it was performing a review of Benicar due to findings from two clinical trials. These trials posed the possibility that patients with type 2 diabetes who took the drug were exposed to an increased risk of cardiovascular death. However after four years of study, the FDA “found no clear evidence of increased cardiovascular risks associated with use of the blood pressure medication olmesartan in diabetic patients.”

In 2014, the FDA ultimately determined that the benefits of Benicar continued to be worth its potential risks when used to treat high blood pressure. The drug was not recommended to treat microalbuminuria, or protein in the urine of diabetic patients.

Benicar Lawsuits

In addition to increased risk of heart disease, more than 1,700 complaints and lawsuits have also been filed in all 50 states against the makers of Benicar for complications such as intestinal disease, development of Celiac-like diseases, birth defects in pregnant mothers who took Benicar, and others.