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Diabetes drugs Januvia and Byetta linked to cancer

A study suggests that two diabetes drugs – Januvia and Byetta – may raise the risk of pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer, according to a story in USA Today. The study found that Byetta may also carry an increased risk of thyroid cancer.

Lopez McHugh is reviewing cases involving pancreatic cancer with Januvia and Byetta. If you or a loved one received this diagnosis while on either of these drugs, call or use our online chat feature to receive a free consultation so that you can learn more about these lawsuits and find out whether you may be entitled to compensation. You can also contact us here.

Researchers used reports from 2004 through 2009 by doctors whose patients use the two drugs, which were included in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s database on adverse events.

They found a sixfold increase of reported cases of pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas, linked to patients taking Januvia or Byetta compared to those taking other treatments.

And they found a 2.9-fold increase in reported cases of pancreatic cancer among those taking Byetta and a 2.7-fold increase of reported pancreatic cancers among Januvia users. Researchers also reported an increase in reported cases of thyroid cancer among Byetta users.

This latest research builds on earlier study published in 2009, which found an increase in pancreatitis in rats with elevated levels of a hormone called glucagon-like peptide 1. Both Januvia and Byetta are supposed to help control blood sugar levels by encouraging production of GLP-1.

The report says both drugs are marketed as having potential advantages over older medications. But they’re relatively new, so medical professionals have little information about their long-term effects.

In addition, a more recent study by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, adds to growing evidence that a class of diabetes drugs including Merck’s Januvia and Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Byetta carries a risk of pancreatic cancer.

A Bloomberg story says the researchers noted “marked” cell proliferation and damage — with a potential for evolution into cancer — in people with Type 2 diabetes who were taking that type of drug, called incretin mimetics. They examined pancreases from 20 diabetics, finding a 40 percent increase in pancreatic cells as well as cell damage in the people treated with incretin therapy.

You should consult with a doctor if you have any ongoing symptoms or health concerns, and before making any changes in medication. You should also consult with a Lopez McHugh attorney if you or a loved one was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer after taking Januvia or Byetta.

See the USA Today story here:

See the Bloomberg story here: