Comparing Byetta and Januvia: But does Byetta pen cause four times more cases of pancreatitis?

Harvey Kirk

By Harvey Kirk
Posted September 11, 2008


Amylin Pharmaceuticals released a study Tuesday which claims that their diabetes injection Byetta is better than the Merck’s diabetes pill Januvia at controlling blood sugar levels. However, last Friday an analyst published a report comparing the two drugs, which found that the Byetta pen could cause four times more cases of pancreatitis than Januvia.

>>INFORMATION: Byetta Pancreatitis Side Effects

Byetta and Januvia are both medications used to treat Type-2 diabetes, but critics of the Amylin study point out that comparing the two is like comparing apples and oranges. While Januvia is a once-a-day diabetes pill that most users find more convenient, the Byetta pen is a subcutaneous injection which the user must administer twice a day. In addition, many doctors generally consider Byetta a more advanced drug, which also offers appetite suppression and weight loss.

In comparing Byetta and Januvia, the Amylin study did not take into account known adverse side effects of Byetta, which could cause more cases of nausea and vomitting than Januvia. It also does not address the recent concerns that have surfaced about a potential association between Byetta and pancreatitis, which has been tied to at least 6 deaths.

>>PRIOR POST (9/1/2008): Byetta Pancreatitis Black Box Warning May Be Added

Last week, financial analyst Yaron Weber of Citi Investment Research released a client note that compared the incidence of pancreatitis for Byetta and Januvia users. While it was far from a scientific study, Weber compared the number of adverse event reports received by the FDA involving pancreatitis among users of the two diabetes drugs, and found that Byetta caused four times more cases than Januvia.

Weber took the total number of reported cases of pancreatitis, divided by the total prescriptions each drug has and adjusted where possible for total use. He found that about 6.49 Byetta users developed pancreatitis for every 100,000 patients, compared with only 1.61 cases of pancreatitis among every 100,000 Januvia users.


The Byetta lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. are reviewing potential pancreatitis lawsuits for users of Byetta who developed acute pancreatitis or more severe forms of the condition, including hemorrhagic pancreatitis or necrotizing pancreatitis. Information is being reviewed and evaluated to determine if Amylin and Eli Lilly, who jointly market the drug, failed to adequately disclose the potential Byetta pen pancreatitis side effects.

If you, a friend or family member have been diagnosed with pancreatitis from Byetta, request a free consultation and claim evaluation.

1 Comment • Add Your Comments

  • Cal says:

    I was hospitized at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, CA on February 20, 2008 for Pancreatitis. I was put in intensine care. My stay lasted until March 5, 2008. Prior to this I was taking Januvia for Type II diabetus. My diabetrus was well controlled with by mouth medications. After my hospitalization, I have had to use ijectible insulin.

    Posted on August 3, 2009 at 1:30 pm

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