Reports of Pancreatic Cancer, Thyroid Cancer, Pancreatitis, Kidney Problems, Other Health Problems

Shortly after Byetta (exenatide) was released in April 2005, concerns emerged about the potential side effects of the type-2 diabetes drug.

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Saiontz & Kirk, PA, Attorneys & Lawyers, Baltimore, MD

While millions of Americans have been prescribed the medication and the drug maker has generated billions of dollars in sales, a number of users have reported developing severe and potentially life-threatening Byetta injuries, such as:

  • Pancreatitis
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Thyroid Cancer
  • Kidney Failure

Byetta Pancreatitis Risk

NOTE: The lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. are currently only investigating new Byetta pancreatic cancer lawsuits, and are not accepting cases for individuals who have only been diagnosed with pancreatitis, without a subsequent diagnosis of cancer

In October 2007, the FDA issued an alert to healthcare providers to notify them that the agency had received at least 30 reports of problems with acute pancreatitis following Byetta pen use.

In August 2008, a second alert was issued to inform healthcare providers about six additional cases of necrotizing pancreatitis or hemorrhagic pancreatitis from Byetta, which had resulted in at least two deaths. Amylin Pharmaceuticals then acknowledged that they were aware of at least four other Byetta deaths linked to severe cases of pancreatitis among users of the drug.

Pancreatitis involves inflammation of the pancrease, and it can result in the need for surgery, long term complications, cancer or even death.

Hemorrhagic pancreatitis is a severe form of the condition where massive erosion of blood vessels can lead to bleeding. Necrotizing pancreatitis is associated with tissue damage, which causes the release of toxins and enzymes into the blood stream, which could cause multi-organ failure.

Symptoms of pancreatitis on Byetta could involve:

  • Upper Abdominal Pain
  • Pain Radiating Through the Back
  • Nausea and Vomitting
  • High or Low Blood Pressure
  • Elevated Heart or Respiratory Rates
  • Multi Organ Failure
  • Death

Of particular concern are indications that Byetta pancreatitis may remain asymptomatic over a long period of time or become chronic pancreatitis, which is characterized by recurring or persistent abdominal pain. In some cases, over an extended period of time, this may result in a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer from Byetta.

Pancreatic Cancer from Byetta

Pancreatic cancer is the fourth most common cause of cancer-related deaths and there is in an extremely poor survival rate for individuals diagnosed with pancreas cancer.

Chronic pancreatitis from Byetta appears to increase the risk of pancreatic cancer, with the risk increasing the longer an individual stays on the drug. Despite information to suggest that Byetta side effects may increase the risk of cancer, information has not been placed on the warning label as of 2013.

Several studies have raised serious concerns about the potential link between Byetta and pancreatic cancer, yet the manufacturer has failed to adequately examine the risk or provide adequate warnings to users or the medical community.

Withholding information about the potential risk of pancreatic cancer from Byetta resulted in huge sales and allowed the drug maker to gain approval for an extended release version sold as Byuderon.

If warnings had been provided to users about the importance of monitoring for the first signs of changes to the pancreas, users may have avoided pancreatic cancer that could have resulted from asymptomatic pancreatitis. As a result, users may be entitled to financial compensation through a product liability lawsuit if they were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer from Byetta side effects.

Byetta Thyroid Cancer Risk

Byetta was the first member of a class of diabetes drugs known as glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists. In January 2010, a competing medication from the same class of drugs was introduced under the brand name Victoza (liraglutide).

Concerns about thyroid cancer from Byetta emerged after data suggested a link between Victoza and thyroid cancer among animals. A black box warning about the risk of thyroid cancer was placed on Victoza, and many have expressed concerns that the same thyroid cancer warning should be placed on Byetta and Bydureon, another extended release version drug that is very similar to Victoza.

The potential for Byetta thyroid cancer lawsuits is being evaluated and reviewed for individuals who may not have been provided adequate warning about the potential risk.


Byetta Kidney Problems

NOTE: The lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. are not currently investigating new potential Byetta lawsuits for failure to warn about the risk kidney failure. The following is provided for informational purposes only.

Side effects of Byetta have also been linked to reports of altered kidney function and kidney failure, which can result in serious illness or death.

In November 2009, the FDA announced that new Byetta kidney failure warnings would be added to the medication. At that time, the federal drug regulatory agency indicated that at least 78 reports of kidney problems with Byetta pen use have been reported to the agency, including at least 62 cases of kidney failure on Byetta.

Potential symptoms of Byetta kidney problems could include:

  • Nausea, Vomiting and Diarrhea
  • Changes in urine color and frequency of urination
  • Fatigue
  • Swelling of hands or feet
  • Changes in appetite or digestion
  • Dull aches in the mid to lower back