AUDIENCE: Health Professional, Cardiology, Patient
ISSUE: 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 of sprue-like enteropathy include severe, chronic diarrhea with substantial weight loss. 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.
FDA will continue to evaluate the safety of olmesartan-containing products and will communicate again if additional information becomes available.
BACKGROUND: 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.
RECOMMENDATION: 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. Patients should contact their health care professional right away if they take an olmesartan-containing product and experience severe diarrhea, diarrhea that does not go away, or significant weight loss.
Healthcare professionals and patients 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:
- Complete and submit the report Online: www.fda.gov/MedWatch/report.htm
- Download form or call 1-800-332-1088 to request a reporting form, then complete and return to the address on the pre-addressed form, or submit by fax to 1-800-FDA-0178
Read the MedWatch safety alert, including a link to the FDA Drug Safety Communication, at: