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Type 2 diabetes affects more than 30 million Americans and is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States. In 2012, health care as a result of diabetes costs more than $245 billion. The statistics are staggering. Various medications are used to treat the disease, but a few have been found to cause other illnesses and ailments, some of which can be severe and life-threatening. The list is continually growing; if you believe you have an injury or illness as a result of a Type 2 diabetes drugs, you may qualify for a diabetes drug lawsuit.
Byetta, Victoza, Byuderon, Januvia, and Janumet are a class of Type 2 diabetes medications called incretin mimetics.
Byetta (exenatide) is a GLP-1 receptor agonist which mimics the effect of glucagon-like peptide-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.
People with Type 2 diabetes taking the drugs Januvia, Janumet, Byetta, Victoza or Bydureon have an increased risk of developing pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer.
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%.
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.
April 2005: Byetta is approved by the FDA.
October 2006: The FDA approves Januvia for use.
October 2007: The FDA announced it has received 30 reports of people who suffered from acute pancreatitis while taking Byetta.
August 2008: Reports of hemorrhagic or necrotizing pancreatitis in six people who had taken Byetta surfaced.
2009: The FDA notified healthcare professionals that Januvia could cause pancreatitis after receiving 88 complaints in a three-year period.
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.
2010: The FDA approves Victoza.
2011: A safety alert was issued in regard to a study that suggested individuals were unaware of the life-threatening severe risks, including cancer risk, associated with taking incretin mimetics for Type 2 diabetes.
2013: The FDA announced it would begin to investigate whether incretin mimetics cause an increased risk of pancreatitis or pancreatic cancer.
2013: A drug safety communication was issued for all diabetes drugs in the incretin mimetics class.
Farxiga, Jardiance, Invokamet, and Invokana are SGLT-2 inhibitors, a class of FDA-approved drugs, used to treat Type 2 diabetes by lowering blood sugar levels. The drugs lower blood sugar in individuals by inhibiting a protein in the kidneys, thus preventing it from developing excess sugar that would then be circulated into the bloodstream.
Although proven to reduce blood sugar levels in individuals with Type 2 diabetes, the medications have been found to increase the risk of serious side effects such as amputation, kidney damage, and ketoacidosis.
All four of the drugs have been linked to kidney problems such as diabetic ketoacidosis and kidney failure. Diabetic ketoacidosis is normally a condition seen in individuals suffering from Type 1 diabetes, but as a result of taking Farxiga, Jardiance, Invokamet, and Invokana, it can be seen in individuals with Type 2 diabetes, as well. Ketoacidosis occurs when there have been long periods of fasting or a long time period of low insulin levels. In extreme cases, individuals may have to be hospitalized if they develop ketoacidosis. Symptoms can include but are not limited to, excessive thirst, frequent urination, low blood sugar, urinary tract infection, weakness, confusion, or vomiting.
March 2013: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Invokana.
January 2014: Farxiga is approved for use by the FDA.
May 2015: The FDA warned that SGLT-2 inhibitors may lead to ketoacidosis.
December 2015: The FDA announced it had received reports of 19 deadly infections in patients taking SGLT-2 inhibitors.
June 2016: The FDA released new warnings for the drugs that included reported injuries due to acute kidney failure which in some cases, required hospitalization.
2017: A diabetes drug lawsuit was filed on behalf of individuals who took Farxiga and other SGLT-2 Inhibitors who allege the manufacturers were guilty of failing to warn consumers the drugs caused severe illnesses.
Learn more about the Onglyza heart failure lawsuit and Onglyza pancreatic cancer lawsuit here.
Learn more about an Actos lawsuit here.
At TorHoerman Law, we offer free no-obligation case evaluation services. If you think you have been injured or developed an illness because of a diabetes drug, we would be happy to discuss your diabetes drug lawsuit in a free case evaluation.
"Statistics About Diabetes." American Diabetes Association, www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/statistics/?referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F.
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