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Several Diabetes Medications Have Been Linked to Pancreatic Cancer

If you are one of the millions of people who take blood sugar medications to control diabetes, you probably know that there are Type 2 Diabetes Definition Magnified by a Pair of Glassesmany different drugs made to treat your condition. Over 25 million people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with chronic high levels of sugar in the blood, most of whom are suffering from type 2 diabetes.

Every few years, a new diabetes medicine will enter the market, claiming to make it easier for patients to control their symptoms. However, many of these drugs have severe and even life-threatening side effects—including the potential to cause cancer in the patient. The FDA has received reports of adverse side effects in the following diabetes medications:

  • Onglyza. This incretin-based medicine is manufactured by AstraZeneca. Onglyza is a DPP-4 inhibitor, treating type 2 diabetes by helping the pancreas secrete more insulin while preventing the liver from making excess sugar. Doctors have raised concerns about the active ingredient saxagliptin, which carries an increased risk of pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), as well as pancreatic and thyroid cancer.
  • Kombiglyze XR. Made by Bristol-Myers Squibb, Kombiglyze XR combines saxagliptin with the common diabetes medication metformin. Like Onglyza, the incretin in the drug helps the pancreas produce more insulin to combat increased blood sugar, but also places a strain on the pancreas that can cause inflammation, which can lead to pancreatic cancer.
  • Tradjenta. This drug has been linked to positive cases of pancreatitis, most notably in patients with a history of pancreatic inflammation, gallstones, alcoholism, or high triglyceride levels. In 2013, evidence emerged linking Tradjenta to an increased risk of pre-cancerous changes in the pancreas, making it more likely that those taking Tradjenta would be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
  • Januvia or Janumet. The FDA has received reports of acute and chronic pancreatitis in patients taking Januvia and Janumet, incretin therapies that are commonly prescribed with other diabetes medications to increase their effectiveness. As Janumet is made with metformin, it also carries a black-box warning about lactic acidosis, a condition that causes lactic acid to build up in the bloodstream.

What Should I Do If I Am Taking One of These Medications?

The FDA recommends that doctors should carefully monitor their patients for any signs of pancreatitis when taking these medications. If pancreatitis occurs, the FDA recommends discontinuing therapy until the patient is no longer suffering inflammation. If you have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer after taking medication for type 2 diabetes, call the dangerous drugs attorneys at Wayne Wright LLP today at 800-237-3334. We offer free consultations to all new clients, and you will pay no attorney fees unless we win your case.