Type 2 Diabetes Treatments - Current Investigations

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Robins Kaplan Miller & Ciresi L.L.P. is investigating six widely used Type 2 diabetes treatments related to an increased risk of pancreatic and thyroid cancer. These treatments are: Byetta (exenatide), Victoza (liraglutide), Januvia (sitagliptin), Janumet (sitagliptin and metformin), Onglyza (saxagliptin), and Tradjenta (lingagliptin). Byetta and Victoza are injectable agents whereas Januvia, Janumet, Onglyza, and Tradjenta are administered orally.

All of these drugs are incretin-based therapies.1 Incretins are gastrointestinal hormones that increase rapidly after eating and signal the production of insulin.2 These drugs either mimic the effects of the incretin GLP-1 or inhibit the enzyme that breaks down naturally occurring GLP-1.3

In March of this year the FDA announced it was evaluating these drugs for an increased risk of pre-cancerous cellular changes.4 This announcement came after researchers examined pancreas cells from organ donors treated with exenatide and sitagliptin and compared them with cells from non-diabetics and diabetics on other therapies. 5 The researchers found that those on exenatide and sitagliptin for a year or more had abnormal cell growth.6

Another recent study reported a 2.9-fold increase of pancreatic cancer among those taking Byetta compared to those receiving similar treatment.7 The same study found a 2.7-fold increase in those taking Januvia.8

Our team of experienced mass tort trial attorneys, legal nurse consultants and other professionals have earned a national reputation for tirelessly fighting for justice for our clients. We welcome calls from referring attorneys or potential clients diagnosed with pancreatic or thyroid cancer after taking Byetta, Victoza, Januvia, Janumet, Onglyza, or Tradjenta.

1. Drucker et al., Incretin-Based Therapies for the Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes: Evaluation of the Risks and Benefits, Diabetes Care, Vol. 33, No. 2 (Feb. 2010).
2. Id.
3. Id.; see also Tradjenta (lingagliptin) Prescribing Information.
4. FDA Drug Safety Communication: FDA investigating reports of possible increased risk of pancreatitis and pre-cancerous findings of the pancreas from incretin mimetic drugs for type 2 diabetes (March 14, 2013).
5. Butler et al., Marked Expansion of Exocrine and Endocrine Pancreas with Incretin Therapy in Humans with increased Exocrine Pancreas Dysplasia and the potential for Glucagon-producing Neuroendocrine Tumors, Published online before print March 22, 2013, doi: 10.2337/db12-1686; Diabetes (March 22, 2013).
6. Id.
7. Elashoff et al., Pancreatitis, Pancreatic Cancer, and Thyroid Cancer with Glucagon-Like Peptide-1-Based Therapies, Gastroenterology, 2011; 141:150-156.
8. Id.

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