Do you suffer from high blood pressure (hypertension)? If so, perhaps your doctor has prescribed Benicar or Benicar HCT to treat your condition. This medication is meant to lower blood pressure, thus relieving the effects of hypertension.
Hypertension is a serious condition if it is left untreated. Over time, it can lead to excessive damage to your arteries, which can prevent proper blood flow, nutrients, and oxygen from flowing to major organs and tissues. It can also contribute to the development of atherosclerosis, a disease that causes that artery walls to thicken, thus causing fats from the foods that you consume to pass through into your bloodstream. High blood pressure can be a culprit in the development of an aneurysm. This happens when the pressure building up from the blood moving through a weakened artery causes a section of its wall to enlarge and form a bulge. That bulge can rupture and cause internal bleeding that can be life-threatening.
Though your doctor may have prescribed Benicar or Benicar HCT because he or she thought it was the best treatment option, the medication may have harmed you instead of helping you.
Benicar (the brand name for the generic medication olmesartan) is manufactured by the Daiichi Sankyo Company, Limited. This prescription medication is an angiotensin II receptor antagonist. In other words, it is intended to prevent the blood vessels from narrowing, and as a result, lowers blood pressure and improve blood flow through the heart and the rest of the body.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved marketing for Benicar in 2002. The intended purpose of this medication is to treat hypertension, and thus prevent the development of the medical issues that are related to this condition.
Side Effects of Benicar
Like all medications, there are side effects that may be experienced when taking Benicar. Some of these side effects or mild to moderate, while some are severe.
Mild to Moderate Side Effects
- Stomach pain
- Joint or muscle pain
- Skin rash
- Back pain
Severe Side Effects
- Feeling as if you are going to pass out
- Less frequent urination, or not urinating at all
- Pain in the chest
- Fast heartbeat
- Swelling in the hands or feet
If you notice any of the severe side effects listed above, or you notice signs of an allergic reaction, such as hives, swelling in the face, lips, throat, or tongue or difficulty breathing, you should seek immediate medical treatment. Though these severe side effects and allergic reactions are rare, there is a chance that they can happen and need to receive immediate medical attention.
Precautions When Taking Benicar
If your doctor suggests Benicar for the treatment of high blood pressure, it is important that you let him or her know about your entire medical history. This includes any allergies that you may have, if you have had kidney disease, liver disease, or a severe loss of body water and minerals (otherwise known as dehydration).
If it is deemed that you are fit to take Benicar, do not drive, use heavy machinery, or do any other activity that requires you to be completely alert until you are absolutely sure how the medication affects you and that you can perform the aforementioned activities safely. You should also limit the amount of alcohol you consume.
It is important to know that there is a chance that this medication may increase potassium levels, so make sure to consult with your doctor before taking potassium supplements or salt substitutes. You should also let any doctors and your dentist know that you are taking this medication before you have any surgery. If you are pregnant, you should not take Benicar, as it can have harmful effects on unborn babies. It is not known if Benicar passes through breast milk, so it is important you speak with your medical professional if you are nursing.
Like with all medications, there is a chance that Benicar may negatively interact with other medications you are taking. Benicar may affect how other medications work and increase your risk for serious side effects.
Products that may interact with Benicar include:
- Benazepril, birth control pills that contain drospirenone and any other drug that could increase the levels of potassium in your blood
You should also be sure to check the labels on any OTC medications that you plan on taking, including cold products, pain relievers and diet aids, as they may contain ingredients that could potentially increase your blood pressure or could lead to heart failure.
Benicar Drug Injury
There have been many injuries that have been reported as a result of taking Benicar. Sprue-like enteropathy is the biggest reported injury that has been reported as a result of taking Benicar. The symptoms of this condition include sever, chronic diarrhea and excessive weight loss.
A total of 22 patients first reported possibly having suffered sprue-like enteropathy as a result of Benicar. These patients were reported by the Mayo Clinic and were an average age of 69 years old and suffered diarrheal illness for an estimated duration of 19 months.
As a result, the FDA ordered the makers of this medication to add warnings labels about the risk of potential injury on its label.
Many people have suffered injuries as a result of taking Benicar, and several lawsuits have been filed against the manufacturer of the prescription medication. Since the FDA approved this medication, many people have suffered sprue-like enteropathy and have moved to file suit.
Recently, yet another lawsuit has been filed against the manufacturer for the same condition. This lawsuit was filed in California in early 2015. Michael Ewald and Louis Verduzco filed a lawsuit against the maker and marketer of Benicar, Daiichi Sanko and Forest Laboratories, respectively, for not warning consumers about the possible risks of the drug. In addition to developing sprue-like enteropathy, both plaintiffs were said to develop the personal injuries of intestinal malabsorption, villous atrophy, and various forms of colitis. The plaintiffs allege they were hospitalized for their conditions and require ongoing medical monitoring.
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries as a result of taking Benicar, you could be entitled to compensation. With the legal guidance of a personal injury or product liability lawyer, you could receive the compensation that you deserve for the pain and suffering that you have experienced. Schedule an appointment with an experienced attorney for a consultation to determine if you have a case. If you do have a case, your attorney will guide you through the process and will work to help you receive the compensation that you deserve.