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Defective Diabetes Medications

Januvia, Victoza, Janumet, and Byetta Lawyers in Greenville

In 2013, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) discovered a link between certain drugs for type 2 diabetes, acute pancreatitis, and pancreatic cancer. While JAMA’s initial study was associated with Januvia® and Byetta®, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) soon released a safety communication about all incretin mimetic drugs for type 2 diabetes.

If you have suffered pancreatic cancer after taking Januvia®, Byetta®, Victoza®, Janumet®, or another incretin mimetic drug, contact our defective drug attorneystoday.

What Are Incretin Mimetics?

Incretins are a group of metabolic hormones that help decrease blood glucose levels. They are triggered by the oral consumption of glucose. When released, incretins stimulate the pancreas, causing the production of insulin. The release of incretins and insulin after consuming oral glucose is known as the incretin effect. In patients with type 2 diabetes, the incretin effect is severely reduced.

Incretin mimetics modulate the incretin system by imitating incretin hormones and binding to receptors on the pancreatic cells that stimulate insulin. Once the drug synthesizes with the cells, people with type 2 diabetes are better able to produce insulin and break down glucose, thus lowering their blood sugar.

Because incretin mimetics are not triggered unless sugar is consumed orally, they are less likely to cause hypoglycemia. The drugs have also been associated with weight loss and decreased blood pressure.

Unfortunately, the drugs have an unanticipated side effect: an increased risk of pancreatic cancer.

Were Consumers Warned of the Risks?

Drug labels on incretin mimetics warn consumers of the increased risk of acute pancreatitis, but manufacturers were initially unaware of the drug’s tendency to cause pre-cancerous cellular changes known as pancreatic duct metaplasia.

Type 2 diabetics who treated with incretin mimetics discovered the drug’s effects in the worst possible way: being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Pancreatic cancer is an aggressive form of cancer that is difficult to detect in its early stages. By the time most patients are diagnosed, the cancer has already spread to other parts of the body.

Dealing with diabetes is already difficult, and a diabetic patient should never be exposed to medicine that increases their already heightened risk of pancreatic cancer.

Still, drugs like Januvia, Victoza, Janumet, and Byetta remain on the market and do not warn about the heightened risk of pancreatic cancer.

If you have been affected by these drugs and their omissions, call Christian & Christian at (864) 408-8890 today.


Januvia® is a brand name version of sitagliptin, an incretin mimetic. The manufacturer, Merck, explains Januvia as a “once-daily prescription pill that, along with diet and exercise, helps lower blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes.” The site warns of pancreatitis, but never mentions the increased risk of pancreatic cancer. The FDA is currently monitoring the drug, even after news of its inadequate testing broke in 2012.


A brand name of the incretin mimetic, liraglutide, Victoza® is a daily injection that claims to lower A1C and blood sugar, as well as the risk of heart attack, stroke and death. The site warns against cancerous thyroid tumors and other adverse effects but does not mention any risk of pancreatic cancer.

Janumet and Janumet XR

Janumet® tablets utilize sitagliptin and metformin HCI in both regular and extended release (Janumet® XR) options. They are meant to be taken once a day and lower blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes. Like other incretin mimetics, Janumet has been associated with pancreatitis, but the website fails to warn about the increased risk of pancreatic cancer.


Another injectable incretin mimetic, Byetta®, is a brand-name exenatide injection. The drug website markets help with glucose control and weight loss. Side effects on the site are especially skimpy and have inspired legal action against the drug’s manufacturer, Amylin Pharmaceuticals. Additionally, the FDA has released at least 4 safety updates about the drug and its potential adverse events.

We Are Here to Help

If you’ve been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer after taking any of the above drugs, don’t suffer in silence.

At Christian & Christian, we have almost 100 years of combined legal experience and a track record of success.

We want to hold manufacturers like Merck and Amylin Pharmaceuticals responsible for putting these dangerous products on the market, and make sure consumers are not harmed in the future.

Most of all, however, we want to help you. Recovering from pancreatic cancer can be expensive and, in some cases, impossible. The burden should never rest on you and your family, but instead on the negligent drug manufacturers who failed to inform you of the risks.

Call us at (864) 408-8890 today to schedule a free consultation and get the help you need.

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