Why Are There Blood Pressure Drugs Lawsuits?
It has been shown that companies that produce blood pressure drugs were aware of the dangerous side effects but failed to report how lethal the side effects are. These companies fail to tell the doctors and patients all the real side effects in an effort to keep their drugs on the market.
Why Have Plaintiffs Filed Blood Pressure Drug Lawsuits?
Multiple blood pressure drugs have been shown to experience adverse effects in the patients who take them. For instance, the drug Lisinopril has been associated with liver damage, and another drug, Micardis, has been connected to causing cancer in patients.
A list of extreme side effects that caused plaintiffs to file lawsuits are:
- Kidney damage or failure
- Fetal morbidity and death
- Deformed lungs
- Skull and skeletal deformities
- Neonatal morbidity and death
- Inability to pass urine
- Low blood pressure
- Increased potassium levels
- Allergic reactions
Which Blood Pressure Medications Are Associated With Lawsuits?
There are a multitude of blood pressure medications that are receiving scrutiny for their adverse effects.
The list contains:
What Blood Pressure Drug Lawsuit Settlements Have There Been?
Since there are many blood pressure drugs, all lawsuits have been treated differently, with some still in progress and others being settled already.
In 2017, there was a settlement of $300 million to around 2,500 victims. The main drugs in this settlement were the blood pressure medications Benicar, Benicar HCT, Tribenzor, and Azor.
As for other drugs like Micardis, Atacand, and Lisinopril, there have been no active settlements.
What Blood Pressure Drug Lawsuits Are There?
Currently, there is a lawsuit occurring for blood pressure drugs containing N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) and N-Nitrosodiethylamine (NDEA), potential cancer-causing substances. The blood pressure drug being investigated is Valsartan. Not all batches of Valsartan were contaminated, which lead to plaintiffs wanting compensation.
What Are Blood Pressure Drugs?
Blood pressure drugs are split into several different categories that all have a specific purpose. Essentially, the purpose of blood pressure medications is to regulate a patient’s blood pressure to a normal level.
The different categories of blood pressure include:
- ACE inhibitors
- Angiotensin II receptor blockers
- Calcium channel blockers
- Alpha-2 receptor agonists
- Combined alpha and beta-blockers
The majority of the drugs being investigated are Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers (ARBs) with LIsinopril being an ACE Inhibitor.
What Are ARBs?
ARBs are a kind of blood pressure drug that helps reduce high blood pressure. They’re used to heart failure and high blood pressure, so they’re typically prescribed after heart attacks. These drugs block the effects of angiotensin, a chemical that causes the arteries to become narrow. This means blood vessels stay open and blood pressure is reduced.
How Do ARBs Work?
ARBs reduce the action of the hormone angiotensin II. This hormone has a powerful constricting effect on blood vessels, increasing blood pressure. Angiotensin II also stimulates salt and water retention in the body, which further increases blood pressure.
ARBs work by blocking receptors that the hormone acts on, specifically AT1 receptors, which are found in the heart, blood vessels, and kidneys. Blocking the action of angiotensin II helps to lower blood pressure and prevent damage to the heart and kidneys.
What Are Ace Inhibitors?
Ace inhibitors have similar properties to ARBs, and the drugs are often used interchangeably. ACE inhibitors also reduce the effect of angiotensin, but by decreasing the amount your body makes, rather than blocking receptors.
Who Manufacturers Blood Pressure Drugs?
Since there are a multitude of blood pressure medications, there is also a multitude of manufacturers. Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. and Prinston Pharmaceuticals are the main manufacturers of Valsartan. Other manufacturers of blood pressure drugs are AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson Services, Inc., Merck & Co., Inc., Novartis AG, and Pfizer Inc.
When Were ARBs and Ace Inhibitors Approved by the FDA?
The first ACE Inhibitor, Captopril, was approved by the FDA in 1981 to treat hypertension. More specifically, the ACE Inhibitor Lisinopril was approved by the FDA in 1987.
In 1995, the first ARB, losartan, was approved by the FDA. Since then, six other ARBs have been approved by the FDA.
What Are ARBs and ACE Inhibitors Prescribed To Treat?
Since ACE Inhibitors and ARBs are similar, they’re both used for the same treatments. They’re commonly used to treat heart failure and high blood pressure and are often prescribed to patients after they’ve experienced a heart attack.
Additionally, ARBs can be used to treat chronic kidney disease.
What Are the Side Effects of Blood Pressure Drugs?
Generally, all blood pressure medications can cause these common side effects:
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Erection problems
- Feeling nervous
- Feeling tired, weak, drowsy, or a lack of energy
- Nausea or vomiting
- Skin rash
- Weight loss or gain without trying
Additionally, some of the more adverse effects of blood pressure drugs can include:
- Birth defects
- Upper respiratory infections
- Kidney Diseases
- Cancer (liver, kidney, colorectal, stomach, bladder, pancreatic)
If you experience some of the following side effects, contact your doctor:
- Trouble breathing
- Racing Heart
- Chest pain
- Facial or body swelling
What Are the FDA’s Warnings About Blood Pressure Drugs?
The relationship between the FDA and different blood pressure medications is long and arduous. The earliest warnings/recalls occurred in 2018 due to impurities found in the medications. Since then, the FDA has been updating the list of recalled drugs frequently. These recalled drugs contained impurities that may be harmful to patients, so the FDA warned against using them and released the side effects that they may have.
There is also a black box warning on Lisinopril for potential birth defects that may occur if pregnant individuals take the blood pressure medication.
Are Blood Pressure Drugs Still on the Market?
Although a multitude of blood pressure drugs have had batches of their medications recalled, all medications listed here are still on the market in the U.S. They are available with a doctor’s prescription.
Notwithstanding claims relating to this product, the drug/medical device remains approved by the U.S. FDA.