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Byetta Linked to Cancer, Pancreatitis, Kidney Problems

Byetta is an injectable diabetes treatment that utilizes the same GLP-1 therapy that Januvia does.  Both drugs stimulate the pancreas to make more insulin, and both drugs have now been linked to a doubling of the risk to develop pancreatitis.  Pancreatitis, which is the inflammation of the pancreas, is already a risk in diabetes patients; about 3 in 1000 diabetes patients will develop it.  On Byetta or Januvia, that risk rises to 6 in 1000.

FDA Warns of Risks of Taking Byetta

In 2007, the FDA noted and flagged several incidents of pancreatitis in Byetta users.  After 6 Byetta users died of the complications, in 2008 the FDA amped up its warnings for Byetta and its longer lasting formulation, Bydureon, warning of not only the risk of acute pancreatitis that was already in the prescribing information, but also of the more severe forms of pancreatitis, including hemorrhagic and necrotizing pancreatitis.  In addition, the FDA warned of altered kidney function.

New Studies Reveal the Dangers of Byetta

The medical journal Gastroenterology found that compared to other treatments, Byetta users had a six-fold increase in risk of developing pancreatitis, and a 2.7 fold increase in developing pancreatic cancer.  Pancreatic cancer has a high mortality rate, due in part to the fact that symptoms do not appear until the disease is in advanced stages.

In addition, a recent study in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine found that patients hospitalized with pancreatitis were twice as likely to be taking Januvia or Byetta than a control group of diabetics.

Have you or a loved one taken Byetta?

If you or a loved one have taken Byetta, you are at an increased risk for several complications.  Pancreatitis, or an inflammation of the pancreas, can take many different forms, but the symptoms of all of them include:

  • Upper abdominal pain that may radiate to the back
  • Swollen and tender abdomen
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever
  • Increase in heart rate

In addition, Byetta carries an increased risk of altered kidney function, kidney damage, and kidney failure.  Symptoms of kidney problems include:

  • Changes in the color of urine
  • Swelling that starts at the feet and legs
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Trouble sleeping

Left untreated, kidney problems can turn into kidney damage and ultimately failure.  Kidney failure can have serious effects upon other organs including the heart.

Call a Byetta Attorney at Kirkendall Dwyer LLP to Discuss Your Case

Between 2005 and 2007 alone, over 7 million prescriptions for Byetta were written, and millions more have been written since.  If you have been taking the diabetes medication Byetta and have experienced these or any other complications, call us today.  At Kirkendall Dwyer, a Byetta attorney will have the knowledge and compassion to provide you accurate and immediate answers.  Call us today, or fill out a form for a free consultation.