Studies have shown that pancreatitis is associated with the use of exenatide (Byetta, Bydureon), liraglutide (Victoza), and sitagliptin (Januvia, Janumet, Janumet XR, Juvisync) and other glucagon like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists.  The pancreatitis associated with these therapies and medications may increase the risks for pancreatic cancer.  Experiments done on mice and rats have shown that long term exposure to these GLP-1 drugs can cause C-cell proliferation and the formation of C-cell adenomas and carcinomas.

These findings may show that GLP-1 medications may cause medullary thyroid carcinoma in humans as well.  The purpose of a review written by Michael A. Nauck, from the American Diabetes Association was to discuss the evidence in favor and against the hypothesis that GLP-1 based therapies increase the risk of cancer.  Author Michael A. Nauck states in his review (titled “Do GLP-1–Based Therapies Increase Cancer Risk?”), “For the purpose of this review, GLP-1–based therapies are GLP-1 receptor agonists such as exenatide, liraglutide, and others or dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors such as sitagliptin, vildagliptin, saxagliptin, alogliptin, and linagliptin.”

Nauck writes that most of the available data concluded from studies on this subject have examined exenatide and sitagliptin, and cites that chronic pancreatitis increases the risk for pancreatic cancer approximately 26 fold when compared to people not suffering from chronic pancreatitis.  The development of pancreatic cancer can have several influences, such as genetic influences, alcohol abuse, and certain drugs.  Nauck further states “Once chronic pancreatitis has been established, chronic inflammation and enhanced intraductal pressure due to stenosis of the pancreatic duct(s) may lead to the development of pancreatic carcinoma.”

It is widely accepted that chronic pancreatitis is associated an elevated risk for pancreatic cancer, but questions still remain about whether or not episodes of acute pancreatitis will have the same negative effects.  This is an important question due to the fact that most episodes of pancreatitis are connected with GLP 1 receptor agonist treatment may be episodes of acute pancreatitis.  Complicating the findings of studies such as the one described above, the risk of developing pancreatic cancer is twice as high among people who are regular smokers, for smoke from the cigarettes enter the blood and damage the pancreas.  Therefore, it is hard to tell if pancreatic cancer observed among smokers came from medications or from smoking.

Nonetheless, many studies have shown that GLP-1 therapy is associated with pancreatitis, and that pancreatitis can lead to pancreatic cancer.  Because the manufacturers of many GLP-1 therapy drugs such as Byetta, Victoza, and Januvia have failed to warn users of these risks, a number of Byetta lawsuits, Victoza lawsuits, and Januvia lawsuits have been filed.

If you or a loved one used Byetta, Victoza, Januvia, or another GLP-1 therapy drug, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation.  For a free, no-obligation case consultation, contact our team of Byetta lawyers, Victoza lawyers, Januvia lawyers, and GLP-1 therapy pancreatic cancer lawyers at the information provided below.  We have the experience, resources, and skills required to win the justice you deserve.

(855) 452 – 5529

Our Byetta Lawsuit / Victoza Lawsuits / Januvia Lawsuit Information page is a great place to start if you have any questions about GLP-1 therapy drugs and diabetes drug lawsuits.