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Diagnosing Pancreatitis

En Español

abdominal painAfter receiving numerous reports of pancreatitis, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has set out to investigate type-2 diabetes medications Januvia (sitagliptin) and Byetta (exenatide). According to data, the FDA had been notified of 88 cases of pancreatitis related to Januvia from October 2006 to February 2009. Approximately 66% of these cases required hospitalization of the patients.

In lawsuits, plaintiffs allege that companies marketing these diabetes treatments have downplayed the risk of developing pancreatitis while using incretin mimetic drugs. Nevertheless, patients should be aware that pancreatitis can be a life-threatening condition. Neglecting treatment of pancreatitis may result in an infection, shock, respiratory complications, kidney failure, necrosis (death or decay) of pancreatic tissue, or even death.

What is pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis occurs as the inflammation of the pancreas, a gland located in the upper section of the abdomen positioned behind the stomach. The pancreas secretes enzymes to assist in digestion, and regulate processing of glucose (sugars). When the pancreas becomes enlarged, functions may be decreased or terminated. Severe pancreatitis may result in the death of pancreatic tissue and other serious conditions.

Persons may experience one of two types of pancreatitis:

  • acute pancreatitis: rapid onset of pancreatic inflammation which may last several days
  • chronic pancreatitis: a slower and more gradual inflammation of the pancreas which persists for years

Signs and Symptoms of Pancreatitis

It is essential that patients know the signs of pancreatitis. Pancreatitis should be treated at the onset of symptoms to avoid further complications. Common symptoms of acute pancreatitis include:

  • pain in the upper abdomen which may spread into the back
  • more extreme abdominal pain after eating
  • inflammation and tenderness of the abdominal area
  • upset stomach, nauseousness, and vomiting
  • fever (body temperature of over 100°F)
  • rapid heart rate

Chronic pancreatitis may involve further symptoms of heartburn (indigestion), unexplained weight loss, and steatorrhea (oily stools with foul odor due to a high presence of fat in stools).

Take Action

Patients with symptoms of pancreatitis should contact their healthcare provider immediately to treat your condition. If you suffer from pancreatitis as a result of your treatment with Januvia, Byetta or similar type-2 diabetes drugs, have your claim evaluated through our expert attorneys. Begin by completing our “Request Attorney Assistance” form at the right-hand section of this page.