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Byetta Type 2 Diabetes drugHave you suffered complications after taking Byetta?

A popular drug used to treat Type 2 Diabetes may cause an increased risk of pancreatic cancer. The drug injury attorneys of Elk & Elk are investigating cases involving Byetta.

Exenatide, marketed as Byetta, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in April 2005. Doctors heralded the drug as a major step in treating Diabetes as it was easier to inject than insulin and some patients experienced a side benefit of weight loss while taking Byetta. The drug is part of a new way to treat Type 2 Diabetes by encouraging production of a hormone called glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1).

Higher Risk of Pancreatic Cancer

A study looking at patients who used Byetta from 2004-2009 points to a higher risk of pancreatic cancer for patients who take the drug. Research found that, when compared to other treatments, there was a 2.9-fold increase in reports of pancreatic cancer among users of Byetta. They also found an increase in reported cases of thyroid cancer for Byetta patients. "We have raised concern that there may be a link, but we haven't confirmed it," said lead researcher Dr. Peter Butler, director of the Larry L. Hillblom Islet Research Center.

FDA Issued Warning

In 2010, the FDA issued an alert warning that people taking GLP-1 analog drugs like Byetta and Januvia may be at risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer is the fourth most common cause of cancer death worldwide. In 2010, an estimated 43,000 people in the U.S. were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and 37,000 died from the disease.

Common Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer

It is often referred to as a "silent killer" because in its early stages it often does not cause symptoms, and later symptoms are usually non-specific and varied. By the time a doctor can make a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, it usually is very advanced.

Common symptoms include:

  • Pain in the upper abdomen that typically radiates to the back
  • Loss of appetite and/or nausea and vomiting
  • Significant weight loss
  • Painless jaundice

Byetta has also been linked to other problems. In 2007, Byetta was linked to a higher risk of acute pancreatitis, a potentially life-threatening inflammation of the pancreas. In 2009, the FDA ordered the manufacturer to add information on the warning label stating the drug may be linked to an increased risk of kidney problems, including kidney failure.

Contact Us

While more studies need to be done to determine a more definitive link between Byetta and pancreatic cancer, the drug injury lawyers at Elk & Elk want you to be aware of the risks. If you or a loved one used Byetta and have experienced any harmful side effects, contact a drug injury lawyer at Elk & Elk. Our Ohio product liability attorneys, paralegals, doctor, nurses, investigators and economist will work hard to help you get the compensation you deserve.

Call 1-800-ELK-OHIO or fill out our online case evaluation form for a free consultation. When you choose Elk & Elk for your drug injury claim, there's never a fee unless we win. Put our experience and resources to work for you.