Attorneys foresee a rise in litigation involving the sale of the medication Benicar, a drug frequently used to treat patients who suffer from hypertension, or high blood pressure. To date, over 1,100 lawsuits have been filed nationwide against Daiichi-Sankyo, the Japanese manufacturer of the drug whose U.S. division is based in Parsippany, New Jersey. Attorneys predict an increase in the total number of federal court cases related to Benicar, and anticipate as many as 3,000 to 4,000 lawsuits, because physicians regularly prescribed this drug ever since it was released to the public in 2002. The first trial is tentatively slated for the end of 2016.

In their lawsuits, plaintiffs claimed they were stricken with severe gastrointestinal symptoms, including abdominal pain, chronic diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and significant weight loss, as a result of taking Benicar. Some victims experienced 10 or 20 bouts of diarrhea daily and lost between 75 and 100 pounds. In particularly severe cases, plaintiffs faced extreme dehydration and the harmful consequences of malnutrition, including cataracts, infection and even death. In their lawsuits, the plaintiffs alleged that Daiichi-Sankyo produced and marketed a defective drug and failed to warn consumers and physicians about the drug’s potentially dangerous side effects.

In July 2013, the FDA announced the risks associated with taking Benicar. According to the FDA, some patients who take Benicar develop a gastrointestinal malady called “sprue-like enteropathy.” These patients are sometimes misdiagnosed with other gastrointestinal illnesses such as Celiac disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn’s Disease and Colitis because they exhibit similar symptoms. Symptoms, such as severe diarrhea and drastic weight loss, do not always immediately appear after taking the first doses of Benicar, but might have a delayed onset. Months or years may pass before patients present symptoms or before they are correctly diagnosed with sprue-like enteropathy attributed to adverse side effects of the drug. Medical studies indicate that symptoms typically subside once patients cease taking the blood pressure medication.

The law firm of O’Connor, Parsons, Lane and Noble has significant experience handling products liability lawsuits, including personal injury cases that result from the use of unsafe or defective drugs. Manufacturers are responsible for ensuring the quality of their products and for informing the public about any complications that may arise after taking a certain medication. Medicine bottles should be clearly labelled with warnings about any possible side effects that can occur. If you or a loved one has suffered gastrointestinal ailments attributable to the use of Benicar, you may be entitled to receive a just settlement to compensate your pain and suffering and to help pay the cost of treatment.

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