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Journal tomhudson's Journal: Time to take on DrugCo (Merck) 4

Olmetec and Benicar (Olmesartan medoxomil)are a $2.5 billion a year industry. I was on Olmetec for 3 months, and let me tell you, the side efffects were nasty.

I stopped taking it a month ago, and am pretty much recovered from it, aside from still feeling like I want to take a nap once in a while, but at least the bone-crushing tired-all-the-time can't-stay-awake for more than 6 hours a day even after 6 cups of coffee feeling is gone, along with the other nasty side effects.

There are people who have reported similar reactions, but I suspect that shame keeps them from reporting the worst one - after a couple of months dealing with it, and the depression that it threw me into (another side effect that patients have reported that is not mentioned in the product monograph), I experienced the same suicidal ideation that a few others have reported. Now, considering that I've been through a lot worse and have never spent weeks in a deep dark funk thinking about offing myself, there's a problem with this drug - especially since when I stopped using it, those thoughts went away.

In my email to them, I asked what they proposed to do about this - and about the lack of warnings to either physicians or patients, esp. when there have been similar reports since at least 2009, along with reports of gradual short-term memory lost and other problems, and that two studies have shown that it also presents up to a 5-fold increase in sudden death from stroke in patients who are diabetic.

The argument from the FDA review of these deaths was that the benefits of reducing non-fatal strokes mostly outweighed the risks. That's like saying that you have a car with a steering wheel that will let you either walk away from an accident, but with a much higher risk that it will gut you instead, with no middle ground, and no, we won't tell you that it is much more likely to kill you. Or that for certain trips, maybe you should take a different vehicle. And that diabetic patients and their physicians should be looking at other options.

Their response was the usual corporate mumblings. Lots of words to avoid actually saying anything. I'll be posting it on the net sometime tonight or tomorrow, along with the ROADMAP and ORION studies, and the FDA response.

It's interesting that since the FDA review last year, some of those who said "overall, it's worth it" are now not so sure ...

And yes, I am certainly both upset and angry about this, now that I can see it for what it was.

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Time to take on DrugCo (Merck)

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  • Seriously, you said "I had bad side effects from your drug, and I want you to warn other people." What do you think they're going to say?

    No matter what, every drug maker gets sued by lots of people who experience any pain, discomfort, or harm while taking their drug. But it's often impossible to determine if a specific drug directly caused harmful side effects. It's a big world, with a lot of coincidences in it. If they even acknowledge your letter, much less your pain and near-fatal depression, their l

    • I certainly don't expect them to roll over. However, this is the sort of thing that, in my case, there's an unquestionable cause and effect relationship. I was on it for only 3 months, and the problems, such as the excessive fatigue, began within a couple of days, and just got progressively worse.

      Since I stopped taking it, I've been checking on-line forums, and it's often a story of "the doctors don't believe it's connected because the product guide doesn't list it as a side effect" - for a whole slew

      • Glad you're your old 'rabid pittbull' self again. ;-) As for suicide and suicidal thoughts, I've been over that taboo topic for quite a while now...
        • Thanks - it's just that for me, it's SO out of character that it was really disconcerting - this drug really knocked me on my behind ... and looking back at it from the other side, it's obvious that it's a side effect of the medication. What's also obvious is that the manufacturer is in denial mode over the drugs many side effects - and it doesn't help their case that it's once again under FDA scrutiny, this time 2 different studies:

          Conduct an epidemiologic study using claims or electronic health records

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton