Byetta’s side effects include pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of Byetta for the treatment of diabetes in 2005. At that time, most of 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.

Byetta is an incretin mimetic. That means it mimics the actions of the hormone glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), a hormone that regulates insulin and controls appetite. Byetta is very effective at treating diabetes; unfortunately, it has been linked to dangerous side-effects including acute pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer, and thyroid cancer. It is important that anyone taking Byetta be aware of the symptoms of these dangerous conditions and take action to protect their health and their rights.

Byetta Linked to Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer generally develops in one of two places, the head of the pancreas or in the body or tail of the pancreas.

The symptoms of each cancer can be distinctive:

  • Cancer in the head of the pancreas. When the cancer develops in the head of the pancreas, the symptoms include weight loss, jaundice, dark urine, vomiting, nausea, itching, back pain, and enlarged lymph nodes in the neck.
  • Cancer in the body or tail of the pancreas. Symptoms that are associated with cancer that develops in the body or tail of the pancreas include stomach pain, back pain, and weight loss.

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most deadly types of cancer with a survival rate of just 8% five years after diagnosis, according to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

Byetta Linked to Acute Pancreatitis

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 2013, 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.

Initial symptoms of this condition are very general and may include:

  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Intense abdominal pain that gets worse after eating.
  • Indigestion.
  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • Tenderness in the abdomen.
  • Pain in the upper abdomen.
  • Pain anywhere in the abdomen that radiates to the back.

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.

Byetta Linked to Thyroid Cancer

Several studies have found an increased risk of thyroid cancer among patients taking Byetta.

Common symptoms of thyroid cancer include:

  • Lump in neck.
  • Pain.
  • Difficulty swallowing.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Cough.

Thyroid cancer is often treatable and a patient’s prognosis is better when the disease is caught in its early stages.

Byetta Lawsuits

Some people who have suffered serious injuries, such as those described above, have filed lawsuits against the drug’s manufacturer. If you have been hurt by a specific drug, then please contact us anytime via this website or by phone at 1-800-800-5678 to learn more about your rights and potential recovery.

Jason F. Abraham
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Helping car accident and personal injury victims throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa since 1993.