Incretin mimetics lawsuits are being investigated by law firms across the United States. People naturally produce a hormone called incretin that tells the body when to release insulin. Insulin is a substance that lowers the level of sugar in the blood after you eat. People who have type 2 diabetes may be prescribed medications to help their bodies to produce sufficient amounts of insulin or that mimic the body’s natural incretins to lower blood sugar levels. One class of drugs that are prescribed are incretin mimetics. There are two categories of these drugs, including drugs that work by acting similarly to a hormone that stimulates the natural production of insulin called GLP-1 drugs and drugs that inhibit the release of glucagon to stimulate the release of insulin called DDP-4 drugs.
These drugs include the following medications:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning in 2007 that these drugs can cause pancreatic diseases. In 2013, the FDA announced that it was investigating reports that it had received of pancreatitis and an increased risk of pancreatic cancer in people who were prescribed these types of drugs.
Several drug manufacturers are involved in making incretin mimetics, including Merck, Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Eli Lilly, AstraZeneca, Bristol Myers Squibb, and Novo Nordisk.
These drugs have been leading sellers for the drug makers despite their heightened risks of serious pancreatic injuries.
Multiple studies have been conducted to investigate the effects of incretin mimetics on the body. These studies have found links between these drugs and an increase in the number of reports of pancreatitis and cancer of the pancreas. The drugmakers’ own studies also demonstrated links between their drugs and pancreatic diseases, but they continued to claim that their drugs were safe.
Incretin mimetics claims
Victims and the families of people who have died as a result of pancreatic injuries that they suffered after taking incretin mimetics have filed lawsuits against the drugmakers.
The claims were consolidated in 2013 because of the large number of lawsuits against the manufacturers of Byetta, Victoza, Janumet, and Januvia. This mass tort litigation is multidistrict litigation or MDL and is highly complex. The consolidation helps the lawsuits to move forward in a more organized way through the sharing of evidence between the various litigants.
The complaint in the MDL alleged multiple that the drugs were unreasonably dangerous and that the defendants failed to adequately research the drugs before they placed them on the market. It also alleges that the manufacturers failed to adequately warn health professionals and patients of the dangerous side effects of incretin mimetics and took steps to conceal the risks from the public. Finally, the plaintiffs alleged that the drugmakers included inadequate warnings and that they didn’t include specific language such as pancreatic cancer on the drug labels and that the current warnings remain inadequate.
Side effects and complications of incretin mimetics
Incretin mimetics can cause multiple side effects, including the following:
- Risk of pancreatitis
- Risk of cancer of the pancreas
- Neuroendocrine tumors
- Pancreatic inflammation
People who are prescribed these drugs should talk to their doctors about switching to alternative medications that do not carry similar high levels of risk of pancreatic disease and cancer.
Are incretin mimetics still available?
Researchers have asked the FDA to review data from their studies about the link between incretin mimetics and the severe and often fatal type of cancer of the pancreas. The FDA is reviewing literature that suggests that changes in the cells that are precancerous might be triggered by these drugs. The cellular changes might cause the pancreas to become inflamed. Inflammation of the pancreas has been demonstrated to be a precursor of cancer.
The FDA also continues to receive adverse event reports from people and doctors across the U.S. about pancreatitis after using incretin mimetics. Currently, incretin mimetics are still being sold to millions of people who have type 2 diabetes in the U.S., and the manufacturers continue to argue that they are safe. These drugs are huge profit drivers for the drug manufacturers, leading to a concern that the companies are prioritizing profits over people. Research continues to show a link between these drugs and pancreatic diseases and cancer. Since the profits for these drugs are huge, the manufacturers are unlikely to stop marketing these products without a lawsuit.
What are the symptoms of pancreatitis and cancer of the pancreas?
Pancreatitis is an inflammatory disease of the pancreas. The pancreas is responsible for releasing glucagon and insulin to aid in the digestion of food and is a vital organ. When the pancreas becomes inflamed, it can begin to attack itself, destroying cells and preventing the release of healthy enzymes. Over time, the inflammation can cause cancer of the pancreas. Some of the symptoms of pancreatitis include the following:
- Pain of the upper abdomen
- Swollen and tender abdomen
- Rapid heart rate
When cancer develops in the pancreas because of incretin mimetics, the prognosis can be poor. This type of cancer is highly aggressive. Some of the symptoms of cancer of the pancreas include the following:
- Upper abdominal discomfort
- Nausea and vomiting
- Appetite loss
- Weight loss
People in South Carolina who suffer from these symptoms after taking incretin mimetics should see their doctors immediately. Their prognoses and treatment will depend on the stage that their cancers are in and will be improved if they receive their diagnoses early.
Talk to the South Carolina attorneys in Myrtle Beach at The Lovely Law Firm
If you have suffered from pancreatitis or have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that you believe is related to taking Byetta, Victoza, Janumet, Januvia, or another incretin mimetic for diabetes, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit. The experienced attorneys at The Lovely Law Firm in Myrtle Beach can review your case and provide you with an evaluation. Contact us today to schedule a consultation by calling 843.839.4111.