Incretin Mimetics & Pancreatic Cancer Lawsuits
The term incretin mimetics is not widely recognized by diabetics, but many type 2 diabetics use medications within this class of drugs. As a result, some of those users are now filing pancreatic cancer lawsuits.
What are Incretin Mimetics?
Drugs in the incretin class help type 2 diabetics control blood sugar levels. Some of the drugs in the class mimic incretins and some enhance them. Incretins are gastrointestinal hormones that work to increase insulin secretion in the body after consumption of a meal. Incretin-based drugs help type 2 diabetics who have trouble maintaining adequate glycemic control.
Within the incretin class of drugs are glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists, or GLP-1 agonists, and dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP-4) inhibitors. GLP-1 agonists mimic incretin hormones the body usually produces naturally after ingestion of a meal. They help regulate glucose metabolism and insulin secretion. DPP-4 inhibitors work as an incretin enhancer, blocking the DPP-4 enzyme that breaks down GLP-1.
Unfortunately, these type 2 diabetes treatments can have serious side effects. One of those side effects, studies show, is an increased risk of pancreatic cancer.
Studies Show Link between Incretin Drugs & Pancreatic Cancer
Several studies have indicated an increased risk for acute pancreatitis in patients using incretin mimetics. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued multiple safety announcements about this risk since the drugs first hit the market.
A recent study led by Dr. Sonal Singh of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Public Health, found that the risk of pancreatitis doubles for those taking this new class of diabetes drug
"Since most risk factors for acute pancreatitis are also linked to an increased risk of pancreatic cancer, these findings of changes in the human pancreas are very concerning," said Dr. Singh.
Researchers from the Larry L. Hillblom Islet Research Center at UCLA and the Diabetes Center at the University of Floridapublished in March 2013 findings suggesting the popular diabetes drugs cause abnormal pancreatic growth in humans that may be associated with neuroendocrine tumors and could increase the risk for pancreatic cancer. The researchers found about a 40 percent increase in cell mass in the pancreases of deceased type 2 diabetic organ donors treated with incretin drugs. The increase in size of the pancreases was associated with increased cellular proliferation, including an abnormal form of cell proliferation that is a risk factor for pancreatic cancer.
FDA Investigates Incretin Mimetics
The FDA announced in mid-March an investigation into the increased risk of pancreatic cancer in type 2 diabetics treated with incretin mimetics. The FDA said it will review academic researchers’ findings and asked the researchers to provide the methodology they used to collect and study the specimens that showed an increase in cell mass along with tissue samples so the FDA can further investigate potential pancreatic toxicity associated with the incretin mimetics.
The FDA is investigating drugs within this incretin class including:
- Exenatide – including brand names Byetta and Bydureon
- Liraglutide – including brand name Victoza
- Sitagliptin – including brand names Januvia, Janumet, Janumet XR and Juvisync
- Saxagliptin – including brand names Onglyza and Kombiglyze XR
- Alogliptin - including brand names Nesina, Kazano and Oseni
- Linagliptin – including brand names Tradjenta and Jentadueto
Pancreatic Cancer Lawsuits
One of the nation’s leading mass torts law firms, Watts Guerra LLP, is handling the largest incretins pancreatic cancer injury and wrongful death docket in America. Pancreatic cancer lawsuits are building across the U.S. Plaintiffs claim the type 2 diabetes drugs caused pancreatic cancer and the drugmakers failed to adequately warn users of serious risks, including an increased risk of developing an often-fatal form of pancreatic cancer.
The lawyers of Watts Guerra LLP are reviewing potential cases nationwide. If you or a family member used one of the drugs listed above and were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, contact our firm now to find out how the lawyers can help you and your family.