Product News and Recalls

Diabetes experts support Byetta, Januvia critic

A number of the world’s top diabetes experts agree with Dr. Peter C. Butler, an internationally renowned physician who raised alarms about the diabetes drugs Januvia and Byetta.

A story on MedPage Today quotes Andrew Boulton, MD, president of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD), as saying that he has the “highest respect for Peter Butler as a colleague, clinician and scientist.”

The New York Times recently ran a profile on Butler, whose research has prompted reviews of both Byetta and Januvia by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency.

Previous research had suggested a link between those drugs and pancreatitis, a potentially deadly inflammation of the pancreas. But Butler’s 2008 study also found a link between the medications and pancreatic cancer.

Subsequent research has bolstered Butler’s findings, according to the MedPage Today story. Earlier this year, a case-control study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that patients taking either Byetta or Januvia were about twice as likely to be hospitalized with acute pancreatitis as diabetic patients who don’t take them.

Butler has his detractors, too. But the MedPage Today story notes that the most vocal of them is a German physician who has extensive relationships with several diabetes drugmakers.

According to the New York Times, more than 100 lawsuits representing 575 plaintiffs around the country are claiming injury from Byetta, mostly pancreatitis. And 43 suits claim Januvia caused pancreatic cancer.

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.