Byetta is part of a class of drugs called incretin mimetics and is used to treat Type 2 diabetes. It is injected into diabetes patients to help improve blood sugar control by lowering post-meal and fasting glucose levels. Often, it is prescribed as an alternative for patients who have been unable to adequately control their blood sugar using oral diabetes medications. Since receiving FDA approval in 2005, Byetta has been prescribed to millions of people and has proven effective in controlling Type 2 diabetes over an extended period of time.
However, the drug is also accompanied by serious health risks. The FDA has received numerous reports of dangerous side effects associated with Byetta, including:
- Acute pancreatitis
- Acute renal failure
- Renal insufficiency
If you are currently taking Byetta to control your diabetes, you should consult your physician to see if there is a safer alternative to treat your condition.
Byetta and Pancreatic Injuries
Acute pancreatitis is the most common side effect associated with Byetta. This condition causes an inflammation of the pancreas that can lead to serious symptoms such as:
- Severe abdominal pain
By October 2007, the FDA received 30 reports of acute pancreatitis in patients taking Byetta. One year later, there were 10 additional reports of pancreatitis associated with Byetta. However, these cases were much more severe than the initial 30 reports. Six out of these ten cases resulted in fatalities. As a result, the FDA has considered issuing a black box warning for Byetta. This is the strongest possible warning issued by the FDA.
Byetta and Kidney Injuries
In recent years, the FDA has received numerous reports of patients developing life-threatening kidney injuries while taking Byetta. A November 2009 FDA alert indicated:
- 62 patients reported acute renal failure (sudden and severe loss of kidney function)
- 16 patients reported renal insufficiency (diminished ability to remove waste from the body)
According to the FDA, these kidney problems developed as quickly as three days following the start of Byetta treatment; however, in some cases it took as long as 2 years for these issues to develop. Approximately 91% of affected patients required hospitalization, resulting in:
- 18 patients requiring dialysis
- 2 kidney transplants
- 4 deaths
Symptoms of acute renal failure and renal insufficiency include:
- Changes in urination (color, frequency, amount)
- Unexplained swelling in extremities
- Increased blood pressure
- Changes in appetite
- Aching in lower or mid-back regions
Currently, there are several pharmaceutical injury lawsuits pending against the manufacturers of Byetta claiming that the pharmaceutical company failed to adequately warn physicians and consumers about the serious risks associated with taking the drug. As a result, many patients suffered unnecessary injuries when full disclosure of the side effects would have enabled them to explore alternative treatment options.
If you have suffered a serious pancreatic or kidney injury from taking Byetta, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your damages. An experienced pharmaceutical injury lawyer can evaluate your case and advise you on the best way to proceed.
Please contact Personal Injury.com today to find an experienced pharmaceutical injury lawyer in your area.