Home > Practice Areas > Dangerous Prescription Drugs > Diabetes Drugs Linked to Cancer

Drugs Used to Treat Diabetes Linked to Cancer

Type 2-diabetes is a chronic disease that affects over 29 million adults and children in the United States.  It affects almost 1 in 8 people in the U.S., and is one of the most common and fastest growing diseases in the country as well.  In addition to these numbers, over 79 million people are pre-diabetic, meaning they have high blood sugar levels, but not high enough to yet be considered fully diabetic.  With long-term complications such as stroke, amputation of limbs, blindness, kidney disease, and heart disease, diabetes is a serious health threat in our country.

Millions of people depend on drugs to treat and manage their diabetes, but the drugs themselves have been found to have serious, life-threatening side effects, including pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer, bladder cancer, and heart failure.  And while the high prevalence of Type 2 diabetes has led pharmaceutical companies to release several drugs to treat it, some of the drugs have now been linked to those serious complications.


Actos is a Type 2 diabetes medication manufactured by Takeda Pharmaceuticals that is a part of the class of drugs called thiazolidinediones.  In 2011, the FDA warned that use of Actos for more than a year was associated with an increased risk for bladder cancer.  Click here to read more about Actos bladder cancer.


Victoza is another diabetes drug intended to control blood sugar levels.  It was approved by the FDA with the intention of it being a second-line drug, meaning it should only be prescribed if other diabetes drugs were ineffective in controlling glucose levels.  However, it skyrocketed in popularity and became one of Novo Nordisk’s best sellers, with over 150,000 prescriptions being filled each month in the United States.

Victoza has been linked to pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer, kidney failure, and thyroid tumors.  Click here to read more about Victoza cancer.


Januvia is manufactured by Merck and belongs to a class of drugs called dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors, and is meant to improve blood sugar control.  However, new studies show that patients taking Januvia are twice as likely to develop pancreatitis, which is a severe inflammation of the pancreas and kidneys linked to pancreatic cancer.  Click here to read more about the risks of taking Januvia.


Like Januvia, Byetta is a diabetes drug that also increases the level of the hormone GLP-1, meant to stimulate production of insulin in the pancreas.  However, it too has been linked to doubling of the risk of pancreatitis.  For more information on the risks of Byetta, please click here.

Kirkendall Dwyer LLP Can Help

If you have experienced any of these or other serious side effects from taking Type 2 diabetes treatments, you should contact a defective drug attorney at Kirkendall Dwyer LLP to discuss your case.  Type 2 diabetes is a serious condition that needs to be controlled and treated, but the medication you have been prescribed should not create more complications than the disease itself.  You deserve to be compensated for your injuries.  Call our offices today to speak directly to an attorney who can evaluate your case.  Our direct number is 877-503-1595.