The findings of new research suggests that side effects of the popular diabetes drugs Byetta and Victoza may cause type 2 diabetics to experience dehydration.
In a study published last month in the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers from The State University of New York in Buffalo report that a class of diabetes drugs known as glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists may inhibit the desire to drink, increasing dehydration risks for diabetics, who already face an increased risk of dehydration due to high glucose levels.
Researchers looked at the behavior of rats when given GLP-1 agonists like Byetta and Victoza. It is already known that the drugs can decrease the desire for food intake, but researchers also found that the increased feelings of satiety extended to drinking as well, and rats given the drugs drank less.
The study found that if the drugs blocked signals sent out to receptors that bind to GLP-1, the rats drank more water.
“Clearly what we’re seeing…is that these substances decrease drinking behavior,” said lead researcher Derek Daniels, in a press release. “But we’re not saying people shouldn’t use these drugs to treat diabetes, and we’re not saying they are ineffective tools for the treatment of diabetes. However for populations already at risk for dehydration it may be something we want to be more concerned about.”
Byetta and Victoza Health Concerns
Byetta and Victoza are injectable drugs that are part of a wider class of diabetes medications known as incretin mimetics, which also includes the blockbuster drugs Januvia and Janumet, which are oral medications. The drugs work by mimicking the incretin hormones the body usually produces to naturally stimulate the release of insulin in response to a meal.
Byetta (exenatide) was the first member of the incretin mimetic class approved by the FDA, introduced by Amylin Pharmaceuticals in 2005 as a twice daily injection. Victoza (liraglutide) is a similar injectable diabetes drug introduced by Novo Nordisk in 2010 as a longer-acting daily injection.
Side effects of Byetta and other incretin mimetics have previously been linked to a risk of severe pancreatitis, which some reports suggest may lead to the development of pancreatic cancer for some users.
In the federal court system, nearly 600 Byetta lawsuits, Victoza lawsuits, Januvia lawsuits and Janumet lawsuits are filed on behalf of individuals nationwide diagnosed with pancreatic cancer after using the medications are consolidated as part of an incretin mimetic diabetes drug litigation, which is centralized for pretrial proceedings before U.S. District Judge Anthony Battaglia in the Southern District of California as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation.
As part of the coordinated pretrial proceedings before Judge Battaglia, it is expected that a series of early trial dates will be scheduled in the MDL involving each of the different medications, to help gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout the litigation. While the outcomes are not binding in other cases, it may help the parties reach additional agreements to settle Byetta and Victoza cases.