Benicar is prescribed to treat hypertension and contains the active ingredient olmesartan. One side effect of Benicar is villous atrophy. Villous atrophy is a condition which causes some users to be hospitalized for weeks or months as a result of being unable to properly absorb food and water. Furthermore, as a result of not properly absorbing nutrients into the body for months or years, Benicar users can become severely dehydrated and malnourished and often are hospitalized for long periods of time as a result of kidney failure, or hypokalemia. They require IV fluids and nourishment to be fed to them directly into their bloodstream. Unfortunately for the users of Benicar, neither they nor their physicians had any idea of the devastating side effects caused by Benicar.

Blunting of villi commonly seen in villous atrophy (causing malabsorption). Courtesy of Samir at Wikipedia.

Blunting of villi commonly seen in villous atrophy (causing malabsorption). Courtesy of Samir at Wikipedia.

In May 2012, the Mayo Clinic published a study exposing the connection between Benicar and villous atrophy. Dr. Murray, one of the nation’s top experts on treating celiac disease, observed 22 patients who had gastrointestinal symptoms that mimicked celiac disease, but who tested negative on a celiac blood test and did not respond to a gluten-free diet. Dr. Murray reported that that patients who discontinued Benicar saw their severe gastrointestinal symptoms subside. However, when patients resumed Benicar, their severe gastrointestinal symptoms resumed. Dr. Murray advised these 22 patients to discontinue Benicar and within months all 22 patients displayed marked improvements: they all regained weight and they all displayed significant pathological improvements.

In addition, in 2013, Dr. Peter Greene, and other practicing physicians from Columbia University, published another study that identified 16 additional patients in their practice that were; prescribed Benicar and had clear pathological findings of villous atrophy. Dr. Greene found that the most likely cause of villous atrophy was Benicar usage.

Dr. Carbonnel, an epidemiologist, has also published on multiple occasions that Benicar usage in some patients caused severe gastrointestinal side effects. In these studies, Dr. Carbonnel assessed a large number of patients taking Benicar for the risk of severe gastrointestinal malabsorption associated with the patients’ usage of Benicar and other medicines containing olmesartan. He reported that patients who used drugs containing olmesartan for two years or more were nearly 10 times more likely to be hospitalized as a result of gastrointestinal malabsorption as compared to users of other blood pressure medications.