The use of medications such as Januvia and Byetta to treat diabetes is commonplace in today’s society, but unfortunately, there are also dangers associated with these drugs.
Some diabetics who took incretin therapy drugs (such as Byetta or Januvia), DPP-4s, or GLP-1sw have developed pancreatitis and/or pancreatic cancer. Studies have shown a connection between the use of these medications and these two conditions. Because of the study results, there is some controversy surrounding the use of medications in these drug classes due to the potential dangers they may pose.
Pancreatic cancer can be one of two types: exocrine or endocrine. The most common type is exocrine where tumors grow in the ducts that are responsible for carrying the digestive juice the pancreas produces. Endocrine cancer, on the other hand, has its start in the hormone-producing cells (islet cells).
The National Cancer Institute made estimated in 2013 that over 45,000 people in America would be diagnosed with cancer of the pancreas, and of that number, more than 38,000 would die for no other reason than pancreatic cancer fails to produce symptoms in the early stages. Even when symptoms are present, it is easy to miss them. Some of the symptoms include things such as:
- Abdominal or back pain
- Loss of weight
There are several imaging tests a doctor can perform to confirm any suspicion of pancreatic cancer. This could include a blood test or a biopsy to assess the existence of any malignant tumors. The treatment usually consists of a combination of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and surgery.
Diagnosing Pancreatic Cancer
If a patient is experiencing symptoms that may indicate the presence of pancreatic cancer, the first thing the doctor will probably do is perform a blood test. Some other tests the doctor may perform include the following:
- Ultrasound of the abdomen
- X-rays of the abdomen
- CT scan
- Endoscopic ultrasound
- PET scan
Like all diseases, pancreatic cancer has several risk factors that increase a person’s chance for developing it, such as:
In addition to the above risk factors, some medications are more likely than others to increase the risk for pancreatic cancer such as:
- Januvia / Janumet
- Byetta / Bydureon
Those patients who developed pancreatic cancer after taking any of these medications may be owed compensation from the drug manufacturer. Of course, every case is unique, and the best way to determine whether or not you have a valid claim is to discuss your case with a product liability attorney.