2 Diabetes Drugs Linked to Pancreatic Cancer


A UCLA study released earlier this month has found a link between two popular Type 2 diabetes drugs and an increased risk of developing pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer.

The study, which was conducted at the Larry L. Hillblom Islet Research Center at UCLA, evaluated the FDA database for adverse events. In particular, the study focused on injuries reported between 2004 and 2009 among patients using the diabetes drugs Byetta and Januvia.

According to the study, patients taking Januvia and Byetta were six times more likely to develop pancreatitis. Byetta patients were also 2.9 times more likely to develop pancreatic cancer, while Januvia patients experienced a 2.7 times increase in risk of pancreatic cancer. Researchers also found a statistically significant increase in the risk of developing thyroid cancer among Byetta patients.

While the study raises important concerns about the safety of these medications, it also has its flaws. Researchers have acknowledged the drawbacks of using the FDA database for this study. In particular, this database possesses incomplete data and reporting biases. In order to conclusively determine the increased risk of these drugs, a randomized, controlled clinical trial should be conducted.

If you are taking Byetta or Januvia to treat Type 2diabetes, talk to your doctor to see if an alternative medication might be safer. If you have developed pancreatitis or pancreatic cancer and you believe one of these drugs contributed to your illness, consult an experienced pharmaceutical injury lawyer to see if you have a valid claim.