Diabetes Drug Alert: Januvia, Byetta Double The Risk For Pancreatitis
Pancreatitis is a condition that causes the pancreas to become inflamed. It is a cause for concern because it has linked to kidney failure and pancreatic cancer. Both of these conditions can potentially be fatal. Januvia and Byetta have been shown to cause pancreatic lesions, which can lead to pancreatitis. It is estimated that three out of 1,000 diabetics develop pancreatitis each year. Six out of 1,000 patients who take Januvia or Byetta will develop pancreatitis.
Januvia is taken orally, and Byetta is administered via injection. Both of these medications work by increasing GLP-1, which is a hormone that helps the pancreas produce insulin. The pancreas not only produces insulin, but it also produces digestive enzymes. If the digestive enzymes are activated before they leave the pancreas, they can digest the organ’s tissue. This can lead to fever, nausea, abdominal pain and inflammation.
Dr. Sonal Singh, who was one of the authors in the study, has stated that this was the first study to estimate a person’s risk of developing pancreatitis while using GLP-1 drugs. He has also stated that there needs to be more research conducted to examine how these medications affect the body.
Aaron Cypress, who is a physician at Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, has stated that the results of this study will not change the way that he treats his patients. However, he did state that he will check to see if a patient is showing any of the risk factors for pancreatitis. More about the study can be found here.
Merck And Bristol Myers Assert That The Drugs Are Safe
Merck is the company that manufacturers Januvia, and Bristol-Myers Squibb is the company that manufacturers Byetta. Amylin is Byetta’s original manufacturer. Both of these companies have stated that the medications are safe. They have also stated that they take medication safety very seriously. However, there have been lawsuits filed against both companies.
This is not the first time that people have filed a lawsuit against a drug company after the medication was deemed safe. Thousands of people have filed a Pradaxa lawsuit after they suffered adverse side effects. The manufacturer also stated that Pradaxa was safe.
Januvia and Byetta Lawsuits On The Rise
In 2011, there were hundreds of cases reported of patients developing acute or chronic pancreatitis that have been attributed to Januvia or Byetta. Patients who developed pancreatitis or pancreatic cancer after taking these drugs have filed lawsuits against the manufacturers.
Kathleen Riley was among the many people who developed pancreatic cancer after taking Januvia and Byetta. Sadly, she passed away from the disease. Guy Riley, who is her heir, has filed a lawsuit against Merck and Bristol-Myers Squibb.
The lawsuit claims that the companies marketed the drugs without warning the patients of the potential side effects. Most likely, there will be many more lawsuits filed against the companies.
- New concerns over Byetta and Januvia underscore the value of older and cheaper diabetes drugs (news.consumerreports.org)
- Diabetes Drugs Linked To Symptoms That Lead To Cancer (medicaldaily.com)
- Januvia, Byetta double pancreatitis risk, JAMA analysis finds (fiercebiotech.com)
- Diabetes Treatments Linked to Doubling Risk for Pancreatitis (counselheal.com)
- The Confusion Over A Pair Of Diabetes Drugs And Pancreatitis (forbes.com)