The FDA recently issued a safety warning that certain type 2 diabetes drugs - such as Januvia, Janumet and Onglyza - can cause disabling joint pain in patients. These drugs are in a class called DPP-4 inhibitors, and are also linked to heart failure, pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer. Our team of diabetes drug lawyers details this warning and the types of diabetes drug cases we are accepting.
DPP-4 inhibitors, also known as gliptins, are used alongside lifestyle changes to lower blood sugar in patients with type 2 diabetes. The FDA noted that patients taking these drugs reported severe joint pain beginning from the first day of taking the drug to years after they started taking it. Joint symptoms ended after stopping the medication, typically in about one month.
The FDA urges patients to notify their doctors if they experience severe or persistent joint pain. Other DPP-4 inhibitor side effects include inflammation of the pancreas and pancreatic cancer and heart failure.
DPP-4 inhibitors hit American markets in 2006. Januvia quickly became Merck's highest-selling drug, generating nearly $2 billion in just the first six months of 2015. Janumet generated $1 billion in sales, also for Merck, during the same period.
Despite their massive sales, these drugs have done little to actually improve the health of those battling type 2 diabetes. In fact, doctors and industry insiders report that diabetes drugs are the primary suspect in thousands of deaths and hospitalizations for adverse events like pancreatitis and heart failure.
Dozens of studies have linked DPP-4 inhibitors to cancer, dating back nearly ten years. Researchers have noted these drugs can promote the growth of a pre-existing intestinal tumors and support the spread of colon cancer cells, brain cancer cells, and prostate cancer.
DPP-4 drugs have been found to increase risk of all cancers and help progress existing or developing cancer. Most notably, pancreatic cancer.
If doctors know about the immense risks of these drugs, why are they prescribing them? It's because members of the panels that determine pre-diabetes and diabetes treatment guidelines - the American Diabetes Association and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists - receive millions of dollars from drug manufacturers for "consulting," and "speaking engagements."
A study from the Mayo Clinic found that 90% of scientists who wrote favorable articles about the diabetes drug Avandia had financial ties to its manufacturer. Avandia is a profoundly dangerous drug, linked to a 64% increased risk of cardiovascular death and 43% increased risk of heart attack compared to patients on other diabetes treatments.
Statins and DPP-4s
Drugs like Byetta, Avandia, Janumet, Januvia, Victoza and Onglyza are often prescribed alongside statin drugs, like Liptior, to lower cholesterol. The reason these two types of drugs are combined is because many patients with type 2 diabetes also suffer from high blood pressure, which increases cardiovascular risks.
The problem is that the risks of these drugs taken together have never been studied. Statins, too, come with their own very severe health risks, including muscle disease, liver and kidney complications, and, alarmingly, type 2 diabetes. Yes, drugs like Lipitor and Crestor are linked to significant increases in developing type 2 diabetes. So why would they ever be prescribed to patients already suffering from this illness?
There are massive lawsuits currently pending in court against Lipitor and Crestor due to development of type 2 diabetes and a muscle disease called rhabdomyolysis. As many as 25% of patients who try statins complain of muscle pain. About one in 10,000 patients develop rhabdomyolysis, which is a dangerous complication involving the breakdown of muscles.
Statins accelerate the development of type 2 diabetes and cause muscle and kidney damage, yet they are prescribed to patients with type 2 diabetes. Patients taking DPP-4 inhibitors have an increased risk of cancer. These are all deadly, debilitating, life-changing conditions, yet many patients have no idea of the risks they are taking.
Our team of dangerous drug lawyers are currently investigating cases involving Januvia, Janumet, Victoza, Lipitor, Crestor, and Onglyza. If you or someone you love was seriously injured or killed from complications of these drugs, contact our firm immediately for a free case review. We accept clients nationwide.