Side effects of the diabetes drugs Januvia, Janumet, Byetta and Victoza have been linked to an increased risk of pancreatic cancer. Lawsuits are being reviewed by lawyers throughout the United States for individuals diagnosed with pancreatic cancer after using diabetes drugs from the class of medications known as incretin mimetics.
OVERVIEW: Incretin mimetics are a relatively new generation of diabetes drug, which were first introduced in 2005. The medications have been very controversial, amid reports involving a number of serious side effects and concerns that the drugs may be no more effective than older diabetes drugs.
- Byetta (exenatide) was originally introduced in April 2005, as a twice a day subcutaneous injection administered to help reduce blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetics. Bydureon, a longer-acting version of the medication, was approved in January 2012, allowing users to take one dose a week to regulate their diabetes.
- Januvia (sitagliptin) is a once daily pill also approved for the treatment of adults with Type-2 diabetes in 2006. It is one of the first in a new class of medications known as dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors, and is the most popular diabetes drug on the market. Janumet is a combination of Januvia and Metformin introduced by Merck in 2007.
- Victoza (liraglutide) was introduced by Novo Nordisk in 2010 as a daily injection. Some critics questioned whether the drug was necessary, because it was so close to Byetta in how it worked.
Amid aggressive promotions and marketing, the drugs have grown to become widely used among individuals with 2 diabetes, generating billions in annual sales.
Januvia and Janumet are among the best selling medications for the global pharmaceutical company Merck, with Janumet sales reaching over $1.3 billion in 2011 and Januvia sales hitting $919 million during the first quarter of 2012 alone.
Byetta sales were reported at $710 million in 2010 and were expected to reach $1 billion by 2015. Likewise, Victoza sales were about $1 billion in 2011, and reached $748 million during the first half of 2012.
DIABETES DRUG SIDE EFFECTS AND PANCREATIC CANCER: Incretin mimetics work by imitating incretin hormones in the body. They stimulate insulin release and inhibit the release of glucagon secretion, allowing people with type 2 diabetes to better control blood glucose levels.
Since their release, a number of studies have shown a link between Byetta, Januvia and similar drugs and pancreatic cancer, as well as pancreatitis and in some cases thyroid cancer.
In the February 2013 edition of JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers raised serious concerns about pancreatic cancer risk, after a study found that individuals treated with Byetta and Januvia were twice as likely to be hospitalized with pancreatitis, which could ultimately lead to pancreatic cancer. Some researchers also located precancerous cells in donated organs from deceased patients who took the drugs as well.
In 2013, the FDA launched an investigation into the pancreatic cancer risk with diabetes drugs that are part of the incretin mimetics class. A similar safety review is also underway by European health officials.
DIABETES DRUG LAWSUIT STATUS: As of mid-2013, a growing number of Byetta lawsuits, Januvia lawsuits, Janumet lawsuits and Victoza lawsuits are being filed by users of the diabetes drugs diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The complaints allege that the manufacturers failed to adequately warn about the pancreatic cancer side effects from the diabetes drugs.
Diabetes drug pancreatic cancer lawyers are providing free consultations and claim evaluations for individuals nationwide to help determine if financial compensation may be available. Claims are reviewed under a contingency fee agreement, which means that there are no fees or expenses unless a recovery is obtained.