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Diabetes DrugsJanuvia, Janumet,  Byetta, Victoza or Bydureon users have an increased risk of developing pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer

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While pancreatic cancer survival rates have been improving from decade to decade, the disease is still considered largely incurable.  Pancreatitis can be a precursor to pancreatic cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society, for all stages of pancreatic cancer combined, the one-year relative survival rate is 20%, and the five-year rate is 4%.

People with type-2 diabetes taking the drugs Januvia, Janumet,  Byetta, Victoza or Bydureon have an increased risk of developing pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer.

A study conducted by the Islet Research Center at the University of California, Los Angeles, found a six-fold increase in reported cases of pancreatitis linked to patients taking Januvia or Byetta a 2.9-fold increase in reported cases of pancreatic cancer among those taking Byetta and a 2.7-fold increase of reported pancreatic cancer among Januvia users.

Byetta (exenatide) is a GLP-1 receptor agonist which mimics the effect of glucagonlike petide-1, a hormone that increases insulin production when blood sugar is high.  Byetta is administered as a twice-daily injection.  Manufactured by Amylin Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly and Company, Byetta was FDA approved on April 28, 2005.

Bydureon and Victoza are also GLP-1 receptor agonists and contain the same main ingredient as Byetta – exenatide.  FDA approved in January of 2012, Bydureon is a longer-lasting version of Byetta, requiring a once a week injection.  Victoza gained national attention earlier in the year when Paula Deen signed on as a spokesperson for the Novo Nordisk drug.  Like Byetta, Victoza is also injected once a day.

Rather than an injection, Januvia (sitagliptin) is a once-daily pill used to lower blood glucose levels in patients with type 2 diabetes.  Januvia helps to increase the insulin produced by the pancreas when blood sugar levels are high and helps to reduce the amount of sugar produced by the liver.  Manufactured by Merck & Co., Januvia was FDA approved in 2006.  Also, a pill manufactured by Merck & Co, Janumet was approved in 2007 as a combination drug – it combines sitagliptin and metformin into a single pill.

In 2009 the FDA notified healthcare professionals that Januvia could cause pancreatitis after receiving 88 complaints in a three-year time.

In 2009 the FDA approved a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy  (REMS) for Byetta, which requires investigating pancreatitis.  The REMS was required because the FDA had received reports of severe cases of pancreatitis.


If you or a loved one believes that Januvia, Janumet, Byetta, Bydureon or Victoza caused pancreatic cancer and would like to explore your legal rights, please call us for a no-cost, no-obligation lawsuit review.


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