Byetta May Increase Risk of Pancreatic Cancer

A recent study by the Larry L. Hillblom Islet Research Center at the University of California in Los Angeles has found that persons with type 2 diabetes who take Byetta (also known as exenatide) to control their blood-sugar levels may be at greater risk of developing pancreatic cancer.

The study uncovered evidence of precancerous changes in the cells of those who take incretin mimetics such as Byetta. In announcing the findings, the public advocacy group Public Citizen said, “These findings are in accord with the rapidly increasing number of reports to the U.S Food and Drug Administration of pancreatic cancer in patients using these drugs compared with diabetics using other drugs.”

Byetta, which is administered by injection, is a relatively new drug. The HillBlom researchers used data from the Food and Drug Administration on adverse effects reported by doctors who had patients taking the drug. They found six times the number of reported cases of pancreatitis among patients on Byetta as opposed to those patients taking older drugs. The researchers also discovered elevated levels of pancreatic cancer and thyroid cancer.

The increases are statistically significant If doctors have significant concerns about the risk of their patients developing cancer, they should consider other drugs.

The older medication most often prescribed for type 2 diabetics is metformin, long considered safe, as is insulin. More recent drugs, such as Avandia and Actos, have been flagged for increased risks of heart problems and bladder cancer. Dr. Ronald Goldberg of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine said that while the study “…raises a flag and is clearly something we need to pay attention to going forward.”

If you believe that you or someone you love has been exposed to the risk of cancer from the use of Byetta, you may be in need of legal representation. Put the experienced lawyers at The Levensten Law Firm to work for you.