Lisinopril is an ACE inhibitor used to treat hypertension. Millions of people trust the drug to protect them against heart attacks and reduce the risk of death after a cardiac emergency. However, more and more people are reporting severe complications from taking the medication.
Currently, there is no mass tort litigation against the makers of Lisinopril. Nevertheless, attorneys review cases to determine if the drug is responsible for some patients’ severe conditions claim the drug causes.
History of Lisinopril
Lisinopril is an Ace inhibitor patented by Merch & Co. and AstraZeneca in 1978 and approved for use in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1987. The chemical compound is used in many other hypertension drugs, and it is sold under the brand names Prinivil and Zestril.
The compound was an improvement on an earlier ACE inhibitor called Enalapril. The precursor to Merck and AstraZeneca’s longer-acting formula had greater risks for side effects, which is why so many physicians started prescribing Lisinopril to their patients with hypertension.
The effectiveness of Lisinopril has led to numerous patents on similar drugs, generic versions, and an oral suspension for patients with difficulty swallowing pills. Each developer and manufacturer is responsible for monitoring any adverse reactions and notifying doctors, patients, and the FDA accordingly.
The FDA issued several warnings regarding Lisinopril in the past, and a few manufacturers have issued voluntary recalls because some tablets were mismarked during manufacturing. There are no current recalls on any medications containing Lisinopril.
How Does Lisinopril Work?
Lisinopril and other ACE inhibitors work by blocking the angiotensin-converting enzyme, which narrows the blood vessels. While the drug inhibits the enzyme, the vessels are wider, and blood flows more easily through them, decreasing the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
ACE inhibitors are relatively new drugs in the treatment of cardiovascular disease. Yet, they work well for millions of people. Lisinopril and the drugs in which it is the active ingredient are longer lasting and present less of a risk for hypotension, which is why Lisinopril is one of the most prescribed medications in the world.
There are several warnings on Lisinopril, including a Black Box Warning. Black Box Warnings are the most serious notices from the FDA, and the one found on ACE inhibitor medications warns women not to take it while they are pregnant because the drug could cause harm or death to an unborn child.
Labels also notify patients to keep the drug out of reach of children and contact poison control in the event of an accidental overdose. Literature provided with Lisinopril prescriptions lists more than a dozen other warnings, including risks of swelling, hypotension, and other complications, some of which are life-threatening.
Although it is not a Black Box Warning, literature given with the drug instructs patients to visit an emergency room immediately if they have trouble catching their breath or swelling in the face, lips, throat, or neck.
As early as 1992, studies showed that the drug could cause severe cases of angioedema in the neck and throat. In one case, a patient presented at the emergency room with breathing trouble, and emergency room staff could not treat them because they did not know that the patient was taking an ACE inhibitor. That person ended up dying from complications.
So, the FDA added a warning instructing patients to inform emergency staff that they are taking an ACE inhibitor. Symptoms that indicate a patient is suffering from angioedema include swelling, difficulty breathing, persistent coughing, the feeling that there is something stuck in the throat, cold skin or a blue or gray tint to the skin.
Low blood pressure is another risk associated with Lisinopril. If you are sweating a lot, not drinking enough water, or taking other medications that cause dehydration, you are at greater risk.
In the past, lawsuits against Merck & Co. and AstraZeneca haven’t been highly successful. Law firms are looking at the connection between long-term use of Lisinopril and liver damage. However, there have not been enough cases to date to warrant a more significant case involving more than one district.
Can You File A Lawsuit Against the Makers of Lisinopril?
To win a lawsuit, you need to prove that the manufacturer broke the law either maliciously or through negligence. Some examples include:
- Drugmakers were instructing sales associates to recommend a medication for off-label uses.
- Improper manufacturing of a drug.
- Inadequate testing to ensure a medication is safe for each group prescribed to it.
- Improper labeling.
There are other reasons people sue a drug company. For example, suppose a drug like Lisinopril is found to cause severe illness after long-term use. In that case, the company may be court-ordered to pay a settlement to those affected. Unfortunately, these cases usually require a significant number of people to come forward about the damage a drug has done before a major case picks up traction.
When hundreds or thousands of people have the same claims, judges often combine the case into one large litigation called a mass tort or multi-district litigation (MDL). When there is an active MDL against a company, the process for bringing your case before the court is usually much quicker.
There is a precedent set, making it easier for the courts to determine a reasonable settlement for each additional injured party. That is not the case with Lisinopril. Any lawsuits have been filed in lower courts, and none have resulted in substantial settlements. However, that does not mean that there will not be a larger case against Merck and AstraZeneca in the future.
Recommendations for People Affected by Lisinopril
If you have been taking Lisinopril and are experiencing adverse reactions, there are some steps you should take.
1. Do Not Stop Taking Your Medication
Stopping your ACE inhibitor could leave you at risk for significant cardiovascular damage, stroke, or heart attack. You should continue taking your current medication until you are seen by a doctor and prescribed an alternative drug.
2. Reach Out to Your Doctor
Call your doctor’s office to schedule an appointment. When you schedule your appointment, tell them what you are experiencing so they can see you as soon as possible. During your visit, make sure you inform them of all the symptoms you have been experiencing. Doing this lets them know what is going on, and if you suffer damage from a drug, it can serve as a record of the symptoms it caused.
3. Keep Records and a Journal
If you want to take action against a drug company, you will have to show proof of your claims to the judge. So, it is critical to keep records. You should also write down any significant symptoms you have when taking a prescription.
4. Contact an Attorney
While there is not ongoing mass tort litigation against the makers of Lisinopril at this time, attorneys across the United States are working on filings. When enough people come forward about the adverse effects, judges have no choice but to pay attention. So, a future class action lawsuit is possible.
Review these frequently asked questions to learn important information about Lisinopril, litigation status, and other concerns.
Question: What Are the Side Effects of Lisinopril?
Answer: Each patient will experience different effects from taking a drug, but the most common reported side effects from Lisinopril to include:
Low blood pressure
Less frequently, patients have severe reactions that include:
Angioedema (swelling under the skin)
Loss of muscle function
Cold or grayish skin
Question: Is There a Lawsuit Against Lisinopril?
Answer: Currently, there are no significant lawsuits against makers of Lisinopril related to the drug. However, there have been smaller lawsuits against the company claiming that the medication caused severe liver damage.
Question: How Bad is Lisinopril?
Answer: Lisinopril is a lifesaving drug for many people. Like all medications, there are side effects. Some are more serious than others. For those who have an adverse reaction to the drug, it can cause severe, long-lasting side effects even after the patient stops taking Lisinopril and even death in cases involving swelling of the face, throat, and neck.
Question: What Should I Avoid While Taking Lisinopril?
Answer: Lisinopril can increase your blood potassium levels, a condition is known as hyperkalemia. So, you should avoid high potassium foods, including squash, green leafy vegetables, bananas, and supplements that contain potassium. If you accidentally ingest a high potassium level while taking Lisinopril, you should contact your medical provider and closely monitor your heart.
In some people, Lisinopril decreases the volume of sweat the body produces. That can lead to a higher risk of heatstroke. So, it is best to avoid physical activities outdoors when it is hot.
You also need to prevent dehydration which can lead to low blood pressure and other complications. Lisinopril may increase the amount some patients sweat, which can increase the risk of dehydration. So, it is essential to increase the amount of water you drink.
While there are no significant lawsuits against Lisinopril or companies manufacturing generic versions of the drug, significant side effects have been reported. If you feel that Lisinopril or another ACE inhibitor caused you to have medical complications you would not have otherwise had, you should always consult with an attorney on your rights.
Lisinopril and Hydrochlorothiazide – Medline.gov
Lisinopril Package Leaflet: Information for the Patient – Medicines.org.uk
Zestril (lisinopril) – Accessdata.fda.gov