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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of the incretin mimetic drug Byetta for the treatment of diabetes in 2005. At that time, most the known side effects associated with the medication were mild. But soon after the drug came to market, the FDA began receiving reports of more serious side effects. By 2006, the FDA had been notified that more than 30 patients taking Byetta had developed a rare condition known as acute pancreatitis or pancreatic necrosis. In April of this year, Dr. Sonal Singh of John Hopkins University published a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association showing that Byetta doubles a patient’s risk of acute pancreatitis.

Acute pancreatitis is a progressive disease of the pancreas. Initial symptoms are very general and may include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Intense abdominal pain

Patients suffering may assume they have the stomach flu or another virus. They may have no idea that something is very wrong.

As acute pancreatitis progresses, the tissue in the pancreas becomes infected and begins to die. If the infection is not stopped, it can spread to other internal organs. This can cause organ failure and death.

The FDA has changed the label on Byetta so it warns about the risk of acute pancreatitis, but Byetta is still one of the most-prescribed diabetes drugs on the market, with over $490 million in sales in 2012. A warning label is not enough to provide justice to the thousands of patients whose lives were put at risk from Byetta pancreatitis.

If you have suffered acute pancreatitis or other serious side-effects after treatment with Byetta, you may be eligible for compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. To learn more about Iowa Byetta injury lawsuits, contact the Des Moines pharmaceutical injury attorneys at Hupy and Abraham at 800-800-5678.

Jason F. Abraham
Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham
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