Onglyza: Missing a Dose of Disclosure

Defective Drugs
Onglyza and Pancreatic Cancer

By Lynn Shapiro, Staff Writer

The newest class of Type 2 diabetes drugs, especially “Onglyza” (Saxagliptin), developed by AstraZeneca and Bristol-Myers Squibb, are the subject of lawsuits in courtrooms across the country for causing pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer and heart disease.

The class of drug, called incretin mimetics, works by stimulating the production of incretin hormones that control insulin and blood sugar levels.

Lawsuits are also being filed against the makers of other incretin mimetics, such as “Januvia, “Byetta, “Janumet” and “Victoza”.

There are two types of pancreatic cancer. The most common is  exocrine cancer.

Exocrine tumors grow in the ducts that carry the digestive juices produced by the pancreas.

Endocrine cancer is the second form of pancreatic cancer, which develops in the islet cells. This type of cancer killed Steve Jobs.

Researchers say because “Onglyza” stimulates the pancreas, cancerous changes in the pancreas can occur.

 A study published in the journal Diabetes in 2013 found that pancreatic tissue in people taking incretin had a 40 percent greater pancreative mass than others treated with different types of medication or none at all. 

According to DrugWatch, the researchers found a six-fold increase in pancreatic beta cell mass in patients taking incretin mimetic drugs. They also reported finding early cancer cells, or hyperplasia, with the possibility that the cells could evolve into neuroendocrine tumors.

Drugs Cause Heart Problems

Further evidence that the diabetes drugs are unsafe comes from a study in the New England Journal of Medicine in September, 2013. The study found patients taking incretin mimetics, had an increased rate of heart failure.

Pancreatic Cancer is a Killer

In 2016, the American Cancer Society reported that about 53,000 people would be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and about 42,000 people diagnosed would die of the disease.

Pancreatic cancer is a killer as it’s usually asymptomatic and is not diagnosed until it has metastasized.

Pancreatitis is a pancreatic inflammation that could lead to pancreatic cancer.

The FDA has placed a black box warning about pancreatitis on “Ongyza” but after conducting two additional clinical studies, the FDA says there’s not sufficient evidence of cancer or heart disease to recall the drug.

This often dangerous drug will be battled out in the courtroom.

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