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Byetta and Pancreatitis

Recent research published in JAMA Internal Medicine journal says that patients who use glucagonlike peptide 1 (GLP-1)–based treatments have an increased risk for pancreatitis. The study found that adults who took medications of this class such as Byetta and Januvia were twice as likely to develop pancreatitis. Since its release in April of 2005, Byetta has caused at least six deaths due to pancreatic problems from acute, hemorrhagic and necrotizing pancreatitis.

abdominal pain- man holding stomach- byetta and pancreatitisAcute Pancreatitis

21 cases of acute pancreatitis related to Byetta have been reported to the FDA. These cases all resulted in hospitalizations, and led to two tragic deaths. Acute pancreatitis occurs when enzymes in the pancreas attack the gland and induce inflammation. This condition may cause internal bleeding and severe damage to tissue of the pancreas. Acute pancreatitis may be identified by sudden, extreme pain in the upper abdomen and bloating.

Persons who develop pancreatitis often require intravenous feeding, surgery, and a change in medical treatment (if the pancreatitis is suspected to be related to the medicine).

Hemorrhagic Pancreatitis

Associated with acute pancreatitis, hemorrhagic pancreatitis develops as a more serious swelling of the pancreas. Hemmorhagic pancreatitis damages pancreatic tissue, destroys blood vessels near the pancreas, and produces internal bleeding. Side effects are similar to that of acute pancreatitis. Treatments involve dietary alterations, treatment with pain-reducing medications, and enzyme therapies.

Necrotizing Pancreatitis

The FDA has notified the public of six reports in which patients’ conditions progressed to hemorrhagic or necrotizing pancreatitis following Byetta treatments. Necrotizing pancreatitis has been marked as the most intense form of pancreatitis. This condition generally results from a failure to treat other types of pancreatitis and my lead to death of cell tissue. Patients with necrotizing pancreatitis generally suffer from:

  • severe pain and swelling of the abdomen
  • a fever
  • elevated heart rate
  • nauseousness, loss of appetite and vomiting
  • low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • extreme dehydration

Don’t become a victim of Byetta’s serious side effects. If you or a loved one has developed pancreatitis, fill out our “Request Attorney Assistance” form to have your case evaluated through one of our expert attorneys.