Byetta, Victoza, Similar Diabetes Drugs Linked To Gallbladder Risks: Study

Higher doses and longer durations of use both appeared to increase the gallbladder risks, researchers warn.

The findings of a new study link the side effects of Byetta, Victoza and similar diabetes drugs to an increased risk of gallbladder and biliary diseases, once again raising concerns over the safety of the entire class of medications.

Chinese researchers indicate that the use of certain diabetes drugs may cause higher gallbladder and biliary disease rates, indicating that those side effects were particularly of concern for users who took higher doses, who took the drugs for long durations or sought to use the drugs for weight loss purposes. The findings were published late last month in JAMA Internal Medicine.

The medications are part of a widely prescribed class of drugs approved for treatment of type 2 diabetes and obesity, known as glucagon like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 RAs), which include brand names like Trulicity, Byetta, Bydureon, Victoza, Saxenda, Adlyxin, Ozempic, Rybelsus and Tanzeum.

In this latest study, researchers looked at data from 76 previously conducted randomized clinical trials involving more than 100,000 patients. They looked for incidents of gallbladder disease, biliary diseases, biliary cancer and other health problems.

According to their findings, the use of any drugs from this class of medications was linked to a 37% increased risk of gallbladder or biliary diseases. Those risks more than doubled when patients were given the drugs solely for weight loss purposes, the researchers found.

At higher doses for diabetics, the risks increased, suggesting a potential dose-response relationship. In addition, the longer a patient used the drugs, the higher their risk of gallbladder-related adverse health events, the researchers found.

The researchers called for further studies on the issue and indicated physicians and patients should be concerned about these risks when using the diabetes drugs for clinical practice.

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Byetta and Victoza are part of a class of diabetes drugs, known as incretin mimetics, which 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.

As a result of the risk, hundreds of Byetta lawsuits, Victoza lawsuits, Januvia lawsuits and Janumet lawsuits have been filed throughout the U.S. court system by individuals diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, alleging that they may have avoided the injury if accurate warnings had been provided by the drug makers.

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