Patients suffering from Type 2 diabetes may also experience drug side effects that worsen their health or cause fatal complications. Several popular medications for the treatment of this disease, including Byetta, Bydureon, Janumet, Januvia, Tradjenta and Victoza, have been linked to pancreatitis. The FDA is also reviewing these substances for their effects on the thyroid and kidneys. More than 7 million prescriptions have been written for Byetta since 2005, and problematic patient reports have prompted the FDA to call for better labeling and for manufacturer studies.
Amylin Pharmaceuticals is responsible for the production of Byetta and is now conducting six separate studies to determine its efficacy in treating Type 2 diabetes and any drug related side effects it may cause. The results of these studies will likely not be known for a few years, which means millions of people are currently taking medications the FDA is concerned about. The active ingredient in Byetta is Exenatide, and is administered via subcutaneous injection. It is known as a glucagon-like peptide-1 agonist, or GLP-1 agonist. Exenatide is a synthetic hormone that is more effective at activating insulin secretion in the body than the body’s own hormones. This is because people suffering from the disease have suppressed insulin-regulatory hormonal function. The natural version of Exenatide, Exendin-4, was discovered in the Gila monster’s saliva.
While it has shown to be effective at starting insulin secretion, this Type 2 diabetes drug is linked to side effects of the pancreas, thyroid and kidneys. Byetta was originally approved for use by the FDA in 2005. Since then, four people have died from pancreatitis believed to have been caused by the medication, though a formal link has not yet been found. However, ongoing research points to an increased risk of acute pancreatitis, necrotizing and hemorrhagic pancreatitis and altered kidney function. The FDA has mandated additional labeling on the product for these concerns. Also, Exenatide has been shown to elevate thyroid cancer risk during medical studies on rodents. Amylin is currently studying the effects of the medication on human thyroids. In August of 2008, the first lawsuit was filed against the company for its insufficient labeling during its initial commercial release.
Exenatide is also found in Bydureon, another Type 2 diabetes drug with serious side effects. Janumet and Januvia both contain Sitagliptin, an oral medication with antihyperglycemic properties. Sitagliptin is also believed to cause pancreatitis, though a causal linkage has not been found with it either. However, doctors do state that Sitagliptin’s mechanism of action can increase the risk of cancer and the chances that the cancer will spread once formed. This is because the substance suppresses the DPP-4 enzyme. DDP-4 normally breaks down hormones that cause insulin secretion, but it is also known to suppress the action of tumors in the body. If it is neutralized by medication, cancers will be able to form unchecked by the body’s defenses.
Anyone who has taken a Type 2 diabetes drug and suffered severe side effects should consider speaking to a drug injury lawyer. These legal experts are extremely knowledgeable of all case history associated with these medications. They can use this knowledge to help a victim prepare their case and guide it through the courts.