The FDA is warning that the blood pressure drug olmesartan medoxomil (marketed as Benicar, Benicar HCT, Azor, Tribenzor, and generics) can cause intestinal problems known as sprue-like enteropathy. Symptoms include severe, chronic diarrhea with substantial weight loss. The FDA has approved changes to the labels of these drugs to include this concern. Sprue-like enteropathy has not been detected with ARB drugs other than olmesartan.
The FDA will continue to evaluate the safety of olmesartan-containing products and will communicate if additional information becomes available.
Olmesartan medoxomil 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.
Health care professionals should tell patients to contact them if they develop severe, chronic diarrhea with substantial weight loss while taking an olmesartan-containing product, even if it takes months to years for symptoms to develop.
Health care professionals are encouraged to report adverse events or side effects related to the use of these products to the FDA’s MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program.
July 3 — FDA safety alert