New FDA warning calls for study of Januvia, Byetta cancer risk

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by Heygood Orr and Pearson

The Food and Drug Administration has ordered an investigation into the safety of several leading diabetes drugs after studies suggested they could increase the risk of pancreatic cancer. The agency’s warning about Byetta, Januvia, Janumet, and other type II diabetes drugs known as incretin mimetics came after multiple studies found that they could cause side effects in the pancreas.

According to a recent study, patients taking drugs such as Januvia, Janumet, and Byetta were more likely to develop abnormal cells known as pancreatic duct metaplasia, which can be an early sign of cancer. Other studies have found that patients taking these medications are up to six times more likely to develop acute pancreatitis.

The FDA called for additional study of Byetta, Januvia, Janumet, and other incretin mimetics in order to determine the risk of cancer for patients who use these medications. Despite warnings about the risk of pancreatitis symptoms and other side effects from these medications, the FDA has not announced plans to recall Byetta, Januvia, Janumet, or other similar diabetes medications.

Several patients who have developed acute pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer, or other side effects from medications like Januvia, Janumet, or Byetta have filed lawsuits against the manufacturers of these drugs. Patients who became sick after being treated with these diabetes medications have accused the drug companies who made them of failing to properly warn patients about the dangers of these drugs.