Health Experts Call for Stricter Warnings on ACE Inhibitors

Individuals who took an Ace inhibitor to treat high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, or other conditions like diabetes, and then suffered from serious angioedema, may be eligible for an Ace inhibitor lawsuit.

Angioedema is the rapid swelling of the deep layers of the skin that can affect any part of the body, but is particularly dangerous when it affects the throat, as it may block the airway and even cause death. According to recent analyses, hospitalizations for angioedema related to ACE inhibitors has significantly increased over the last decade, leading some health experts to call for a stricter warning on the labels of these drugs.

Increased Reports of Ace Inhibitor Side Effects

Since the FDA approved the first orally available ACE inhibitor in 1982, these blood-pressure-lowering drugs have become a mainstay of treatment for many people, with hundreds of thousands of prescriptions written around the world. As more people take the drug, however, more end up in emergency rooms with Ace inhibitor side effects—namely, angioedema.

In the worst cases, the swelling occurs on the patient's tongue and in the throat, closing the airway. This is particularly dangerous, as so far, there exists no readily available antidote to stop or reverse the swelling. Doctors can only insert a tube through the person's nose, mouth, or via an incision in the throat to facilitate breathing. Sometimes, however, the swelling is so severe that the patient dies.

Doctor Warns of "Unrecognized Epidemic"

James R. Roberts, director of emergency medicine at Mercy Philadelphia Hospital, recently published a letter in the American Journal of Cardiology calling attention to what he calls an "unrecognized epidemic."

"There are no effective pharmacologic interventions to reverse or slow this form of angioedema," Roberts writes. "This potentially fatal pathology has been known for some time, but it has not yet garnered an appropriate warning from manufacturers or a black-box warning by the United States Food and Drug Administration."

Dr. Robert Lin, an allergy specialist at New York Downtown Hospital, has also noted that from 2000 to 2009, cases of swelling related to ACE inhibitors has nearly doubled, with the increase more signficant in African Americans.

Request for Stricter Warnings

Though Captopril, Zestril, Accupril, and other similar drugs have always included warnings about Ace inhibitor side effects like angioedema, some doctors believe the warning should be more prominent on the label, and have encouraged the FDA to require a black box warning. In 2002, for example, Doctor James Feldman of the Boston Medical Center sent a petition to the FDA requesting they implement this sort of warning, stating that too many patients were unaware of the risk. The agency denied the petition. Meanwhile, an Ace inhibitor lawyer is likely to assert that the current labeling does not adequately warn the public or physicians of the serious risks.

An Ace Inhibitor Lawyer Can Help

If you or someone you loved has suffered from Ace inhibitor side effects like angioedema, you may be eligible for an Ace Inhibitor lawsuit. Drug cases that involve questions of failure to warn can be complicated, but an Ace inhibitor lawyer is familiar with these cases, and is in a good position to advise you on your particular situation. If your case is successful, you may receive monetary compensation. For a free and confidential cause evaluation, contact Chaffin Luhana LLP at 1-888-480-1123.