Diabetes Medications Januvia and Janumet May Be Linked to Pancreas Disorder

September 2011: Researchers are discussing the risk of pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer in patients treated with Januvia and Byetta. A paper published by Peter Butler, MD of the University of California Los Angeles and some of his colleagues raises concerns about the side effects of incretin therapies.

According to the authors, who based their findings on data from the FDA’s Adverse Event Reporting System (AERS), patients treated with these medications were six times more likely to report pancreatitis and three times more likely to report pancreatic cancer between 2004 and 2009.

Given the fact that the FDA’s reporting system has some limitations, researchers say they will need more information. The findings have spurred concerns, however.

FDA Investigates Januvia

In September 2009, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began investigating sitagliptin and its use in type 2 diabetes medications, Januvia and Janumet, after receiving reports of users developing acute pancreatitis.

From October 2006 to February 2009, the FDA received 88 reports of acute pancreatitis in patients using Januvia or Janumet, with two reports citing hemorrhagic pancreatitis and necrotizing pancreatitis.

Januvia, Janumet and Acute Pancreatitis

Januvia is an oral treatment of sitagliptin, while Janumet is an oral treatment of sitagliptin and metformin. Both medications control high blood sugar in type 2 diabetes patients who do not require daily insulin injections.

The FDA is urging physicians and consumers to exercise caution when using Januvia and Janumet, and is working with Merck and Company, the drugs’ manufacturer, to repackage the products to adequately highlight the warning.

Patients taking Janumet or Januvia are encouraged to carefully monitor their usage and to be aware of the symptoms of acute pancreatitis, which include:

  • Abdominal pain that radiates to the back
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Oily stool
  • Vomiting

Patients who develop any of the above symptoms while taking the drugs should consult with their physicians to determine if Januvia or Janumet are right for them.

Januvia Lawsuits

Acute pancreatitis is a life-threatening condition that could require extensive medical treatment, causing some patients to take days off of work and to accumulate expensive medical bills. The attorneys of Aylstock, Witkin, Kreis and Overholtz fight for patients’ rights to help them receive compensation to reimburse them for lost income, medical bills, lost opportunities and pain and suffering. To learn more about filing a Januvia or Janumet lawsuit, contact the defective drug lawyers of AWKO Law at (888) 255-2956.

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