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Expert wants more study into Byetta, Januvia pancreatitis risk

The author of a study that found two diabetes drugs may double the risk of a dangerous pancreas inflammation says his findings show a need for more research into the subject.

Bloomberg has reported on the study, which found that Merck’s diabetes drug Januvia and Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Byetta may double a user’s risk of pancreatitis.

The story says both drugs increase GLP-1, which is a hormone that stimulates insulin production from the pancreas.

Bloomberg quotes Sonal Singh, an assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore as saying that researchers should build on the finding to see if there’s an association between GLP-1 therapy and pancreatic cancer.

“We really need to know more about these drugs as pancreatitis is on the pathway to pancreatic cancer,” he says.

Previous studies have linked Byetta and Januvia to pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer. Byetta has also been linked to thyroid cancer.

By analyzing insurance records, Singh concluded that patients hospitalized with pancreatitis were twice as likely to be using Januvia or Byetta than a control group of diabetics who didn’t have pancreatitis.

The story says diabetes is on the rise. About 25 million people had diabetes in 2010, and that number may rise to more than 34 million by 2020.

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.