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Newer Diabetes Medications Januvia and Byetta Linked to Pancreatitis

by Dr. Sharon Orrange on March 13, 2013 at 1:01 pm

The past few years have brought new players in the treatment for Type II Diabetes. These medications, with more coming down the pipeline, are called GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor) agonists.

Now, treatment with the GLP-1 based therapies sitagliptin (Januvia) and exenatide (Byetta) in adults with type 2 diabetes has been associated with acute pancreatitis.

That’s not good, but why should we still like these new medications? GLP-1 based therapies work well to lower sugars, are associated with an average weight loss of 2 – 8 pounds (a huge plus for diabetics), a low risk of hypoglycemia, and a good side-effect profile.

With that in mind, here is the downside: Recent study results indicated that current use within 30 days of GLP-1 based therapies doubled your risk of pancreatitis, as did use between 30 days and 2 years compared to nonusers.

Ouch.

Dr O.


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