On July 3, 2013, the FDA issued a warning that the blood pressure drug Benicar (olmesartan medoxomil) can cause intestinal problems known as sprue-like enteropathy. Symptoms of sprue-like enteropathy include severe, chronic diarrhea with substantial weight loss. The enteropathy may develop months to years after starting Benicar, and sometimes requires hospitalization. The FDA further required the drug’s manufacturer, Daiichi Sankyo, to change Benicar’s warning label to include the risk of these side-effects.
Benicar is an angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB) approved for the treatment of high blood pressure, alone or with other antihypertensive agents, and is one of eight marketed ARB drugs. The current Benicar drug labels include diarrhea in the Adverse Reactions section, but does not mention sprue-like enteropathy, villous atrophy, nor celiac disease.