Doctors commonly diagnose and treat patients showing signs of villous atrophy as if they had celiac disease, which is an aversion to gluten in the diet. Experts estimate that at least 3 million people in the United States are affected by celiac disease. The main treatment for celiac disease is a permanent gluten-free diet. However, many other conditions mimic the symptoms of celiac disease, which may commonly result in doctors misdiagnosing patients and prescribing a gluten-free diet, when the patient actually requires additional kinds of treatment.
Not Everyone with Villous Atrophy Has Celiac Disease
A recent study conducted by the Celiac Disease Center at the Columbia University Medical Center in New York researched possible common misdiagnoses that may be leading to wrong types of treatment for patients with villous atrophy. Villous atrophy is the erosion of villi in the intestines that allow the body to absorb nutrients. While villous atrophy is a symptom of celiac disease, the study shows that some patients with the condition test negative for celiac disease serologies. In such cases, doctors may diagnose seronegative celiac disease, and prescribe a gluten-free diet. However, many of these patients do not have any form of celiac disease at all, and require different treatment than simply going gluten-free.
Benicar/Olmesartan Can Cause Celiac Symptoms
The research further showed that numerous patients may develop non-celiac disease-related villous atrophy by taking certain medications. Specifically, the study identified 16 people who had developed villous atrophy from taking Benicar or other forms of olmesartan, which is an angiotensin receptor blocker used to treat patients with high blood pressure. By discontinuing use of olmesartan products, these patients were also able to stop immunosuppressive therapy and even resume a diet that included gluten. Research showed that resuming an olmesartan regimen incited the return of symptoms, further linking the blood pressure drug with villous atrophy.
If a doctor does not inquire into the possibility of olmesartan-related villous atrophy, a patient may be misdiagnosed with seronegative celiac disease, may be prescribed the wrong type of treatment, and may remain on the problematic medication and continue to suffer from villous atrophy.
Contact an Experienced Attorney if You Have Been Misdiagnosed or Mistreated
If you believe that you have developed villous atrophy or other health problems due to Benicar or other forms of olmesartan, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Contact the experienced attorneys at Lopez McHugh, LLP for help today.