Both the Federal Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency have begun investigations into several diabetic drugs known as GLP-1 inhibitors and their connection to pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer. While the links to pancreatitis are not new, new research suggests that pre-cancerous cell growth is a major cause for concern. Some watchdog groups are even calling for a reassessment of the entire class of drugs.

Analyzed adverse events data points to a troubling trend: distinctly higher odds that GLP-1 drugs cause these pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer as opposed to older drugs, such as metformin. In particular, analysis found that the odds were 25% higher for the following drugs:

  • Januvia
  • Byetta
  • Onglyza
  • Tradjena
  • Victoza

“I think the future of the whole class in question. If results are confirmed in a broader patient population, it raises questions about the entire class of drugs.”
–Tom Moore, senior scientist with ISMP

The Institute for Safe Medicine Practices (ISMP) examined 1,723 adverse events that were reported to the FDA between July1, 2011 and June 30 2012 for all five of the GLP-1 drugs listed above. The function of these dangerous diabetic drugs is to mimic a hormone known as GLP-1 that stimulates the pancreas to produce insulin. During this time there were 831 cases of pancreatitis, 105 cases of pancreatic cancer, 32 cases of thyroid cancer, and 101 cases of hypersensitivity. In particular, patients who were injected with Byetta and Victoza were 28.5 times as likely to file a report for pancreatitis compared to patients taking older diabetic medications.

Overall, the odds that a GLP-1 drug, such as Januvia or Byetta, would cause pancreatitis were 25.6% higher than for metformin or sulfonulyreas treatments. Patients taking Victoza were 8 times more likely to file an adverse report for hypersensitivity than patients taking older forms of diabetic medications. The risk of the injectable diabetic medications was far greater than the risk of the oral medications which would cause concern for many diabetics and their physicians.

Not surprisingly, the drug manufacturers continue to push these GLP-1 diabetic medications and tout their safety. A Bristol-Myers spokesman cautioned that “direct comparison of event rates of different agents generated from this type of analysis should be interpreted with caution. Data needs to be put into context with data from clinical trials and epidemiology studies, which are better suited to assess risk.”

National Diabetic Lawsuit Attorneys

Patients who have been diagnosed with pancreatitis or pancreatic cancer after using a GLP-1 diabetic drug, such as Januvia or Byetta, may be able to file a lawsuit. To learn more about your rights and legal options, call the Phillips Law Firm today. Our experienced Diabetic lawsuit lawyers have represented families across the country in their quest for justice. For a free consultation visit the Phillips Law Firm website or call 1-800-708-6000.