Dangerous Diabetes Drugs

Januvia and Pancreatic Cancer


Januvia is a medication used to lower blood sugar levels in patients with Type 2 Diabetes.  It is intended to be used along with diet and exercise. The control of high blood sugar is important to prevent kidney damage, blindness, nerve damage, loss of limbs, and sexual function problems.

Januvia works by increasing levels of natural substances called incretins.  Incretins help control blood sugar by increasing the release of insulin, especially after a meal.  It also decreases the amount of sugar made by the liver.

A recent study revealed that compared with other treatments, there was a six-fold increase in cases of pancreatitis, which is the inflammation of the pancreas, with patients taking Januvia.  There was also a 2.7-fold increase in pancreatic cancers among users.  It is important to note that the two statistics are linked, with pancreatitis being a known risk factor in developing pancreatic cancer.

The pancreas is an important digestive organ located behind the stomach.  It has two primary functions:

  1. It secretes digestive enzymes into the small intestine to help digest proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.
  2. It releases the hormones insulin and glucagon into the bloodstream, which regulate how the body stores and uses food for energy.

The following are specific issues with the pancreas that may arise:

  • Acute Pancreatitis: the sudden inflammation of the pancreas, which can lead to the death of pancreatic tissue, lesions, and serious bleeding; symptoms include extreme abdominal pain
  • Necrotizing Pancreatitis:  an acute stage of pancreatitis that requires immediate surgical intervention
  • Hemorrhagic Pancreatitis: inflammation leads to areas of dead tissue forming on the surface of the pancreas; symptoms include fever, nausea, vomiting, tenderness of the abdomen, constipation, and clay-colored stools
  • Pancreatic Cancer: cancer of the pancreas, which most often has a poor prognosis with low survival rates
  • Death

The following are side effects of various types of pancreatitis.  If you are on Januvia and have suffered any of the following, contact your doctor immediately.

  • Upper abdominal pain
  • Abdominal pain that radiates to the back
  • Abdominal pain that worsens after eating
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdomen tender to the touch
  • Indigestion
  • Sudden unexpected weight loss, caused by poor absorption of food
  • Oily, unusually smelly stools

If you have suffered serious side effects as a result of your diabetes medication, you may be entitled to join the thousands of others who have been injured and are suffering.  Contact the drug injury attorneys at Kirkendall Dwyer LLP to find out if you may qualify.