Product News and Recalls

Study: Diabetes drugs no better than cheaper alternatives

A Bloomberg story says two relatively new diabetes medicines – Merck’s Januvia and Eli Lilly’s Byetta – don’t work any better than less expensive drugs that were already on the market.

A month’s supply of Januvia costs $163.99, or almost $5.50 a pill, Bloomberg says. And a single cartridge of the injected Byetta costs $200.

The 2007 article cites a review if 29 studies, which found the drugs are no more effective than medications that cost pennies a pill. Januvia and Byetta were also found to carry side effects older treatments don’t, including nausea, vomiting and infections.

Since then, other studies have linked Byetta and Januvia to more dangerous conditions, including pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer. Byetta has also been linked to an increased risk of thyroid cancer.

Still, researchers who conducted the 2007 study said the reports of headaches, urinary-tract infections and other problems are worrying in themselves.The report says the drugs block a protein expressed in many tissues, and may affect immune-system function.

The report quotes lead researcher Anastassios Pittas, an assistant professor of medicine at Tufts-New England Medical Center in Boston, as saying: “They are 10 to 12 times more expensive. The question is, are they 10 times better? It’s pretty amazing to me that we have six-month data and a lot of people are willing to jump on this, even though the drugs haven’t proven themselves yet and they are very, very expensive.”

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 story here: