Lawsuit Alleges Byetta Caused Fatal Liver and Pancreatic Cancer

A lawsuit has been filed against Eli Lilly & Co. and Amylin Pharmaceuticals by a woman who says side effects of Byetta caused her husbands death from liver and pancreatic cancer.

The Byetta lawsuit was filed in Duval County Court in Florida by Shadim Salem, the widow of Fred J. Salem, who died in January 2008, about six months after he started receiving Byetta injections according to a report by Courthouse News Service. Shadim Salem has accused Byetta’s manufacturers of negligence, failure to warn, and breach of warranty, saying the diabetes drug caused both liver and pancreatic cancer in her husband.

Byetta (exenatide) is a type 2 diabetes drug that is used to control blood sugar levels. It is part of a class of medications known as incretin mimetics, which imitate natural hormones that lower blood glucose levels. Last month, the FDA expanded the use of Byetta to a stand-alone diabetes treatment, but insisted that warnings about the risk of pancreatitis from Byetta be added to the label and will require additional studies.

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Salem’s lawsuit says that Byetta’s manufacturers overstated the drug’s benefits while downplaying its risks, including the risk of pancreatitis. She is seeking medical and funeral expenses, damages for loss of consortium and other damages.

In April 2009, Amylin dismissed a potential link between Byetta and cancer, after a similar diabetes drug in the same class of medications was linked to a potential risk of thyroid cancer.

Amylin and Eli Lilly already face a number of Byetta injury lawsuits involving allegations that the drug makers failed to adequately warn about the risk of pancreatitis and kidney failure from the diabetes drug.

6 Comments

  • PaulAugust 21, 2011 at 10:15 am

    I took byetta as prescribed by my physician. I now have Pancreatic Cancer and am fighting it with all I have. I cannot work and living is very lean.

  • RonMarch 8, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    My father died of pancreatic cancer and liver cancer 8 mo after starting byetta and was in good health before he kept telling Dr there was something wrong well we found out

  • CathyJanuary 5, 2011 at 11:29 am

    My husband died of pancreatic cancer in October of 2009. He started using Byetta in July of 2006. He started having abdominal pain in June of 2007 the doctors thought it was gall bladder problems. He found out he had pancreatic cancer in July on 2008 and had what we thought was a successful operation.

  • LisaDecember 4, 2010 at 7:43 am

    My husband was using Byetta to control his Type II Diabetes. He developed liver cancer and passed away in February 2007. The tumor was so large it was impossible to operate on to remove and he was not a candidate for a liver transplant. He was only 46 yrs. old never drank alcohol, no previous problems of that sort. He had months and months where he felt so sick (nausea, bloating, abdominal pai[Show More]My husband was using Byetta to control his Type II Diabetes. He developed liver cancer and passed away in February 2007. The tumor was so large it was impossible to operate on to remove and he was not a candidate for a liver transplant. He was only 46 yrs. old never drank alcohol, no previous problems of that sort. He had months and months where he felt so sick (nausea, bloating, abdominal pain, fullness, pressure, trouble eating etc.). I can't help but wonder if Byetta caused all this?

  • nicolaApril 6, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    my father sadly passed away in november of 09, he was using byetta for over a year, we are wondering wether his liver failure and consequent death has anything to do with this, the consultants didnt even know anything about byetta when he was getting tests for a transplant?

  • JudyJanuary 14, 2010 at 8:48 am

    My husband developed pancreatic cancer after pancreatitis caused by Byetta. He died in April 09.

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