Use of Byetta may Result to Pancreatitis, Study Reveals

Results of previous studies on the detrimental effects of the drug Byetta on diabetic patients have been substantiated by the findings of the latest study undertaken by Dr. Sonal Singh of the John Hopkins University School of Medicine. Byetta, also known by its generic name exenatide and produced by Amylin Pharmaceuticals, is used to treat patients suffering from type 2 diabetes.

After taking into consideration risk factors such obesity, alcohol consumption and certain medical conditions such as gallstones, it was found out that patients using this injectable drug had doubled their risks of being hospitalized for acute pancreatitis than those who were not using this medication. It was further discovered that symptoms of the disease may appear within 60 days from the initial application of Byetta.

Based on the responses of the 1,269 patients who used this injectable drug, it was found out that Byetta may contribute to the formation of lesions in the pancreas and an increase in the number of ducts. The frequency and severity of the inflammation may increase as a result of these developments.

When the pancreas, which is the organ responsible for the release of the hormones insulin and glucagon, becomes inflamed, the condition of pancreatitis may then result. Also because of its role in producing enzymes which help in the digestion of food, this organ is very vital.

If left untreated, pancreatitis which is a painful and life-threatening condition, may pose serious dangers to the patients.

It would be to the best interest of the patients to be alert to the symptoms of pancreatitis which may manifest in the form of persistent nausea, continuous vomiting, and a sudden onset of a dull and severe pain in the middle portion of the abdomen. This serious disease may also be associated with other symptoms like diarrhea, loss of appetite, fever, and in some cases the appearance of jaundice. Immediate treatment is imperative if these indications and those listed in the product label appear after using Byetta.

This injectable drug has been used by millions of Americans suffering from type 2 diabetes since it was introduced in 2005. Even with the proven efficacy of Byetta in lowering blood glucose, lapses may have been committed by the manufacturer for failing to do a thorough research in determining possible adverse effects such as pancreatitis or for their failure to inform patients of this fatal complication.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), since 2007, has been issuing notices to health providers and to the maker of Byetta regarding the dangers of this product. In spite of this, the agency has not come up with any concrete actions except to announce that they will be convening a workshop in the middle of the year to evaluate the situation before coming up with a final recommendation. In the meantime, diabetic patients continue to be exposed to the dangers of this drug while those already injured have filed Byetta lawsuits against Amylin Pharmaceuticals.




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