Byetta is a brand-name prescription pharmaceutical indicated for the treatment of diabetes. It is an injectable therapy to improve blood sugar control in patients with Type II diabetes, which is most often prescribed for patients who have not been able to achieve adequate control on metformin and/or a sulfonylurea, two often prescribed diabetes medications that are taken orally. Byetta has been prescribed alone or in conjunction with other diabetes medicines. (For Byetta pancreatic cancer cases, visit here.)
In 2005, Amylin Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly began to market Byetta in the United States. The idea behind Byetta was a good one: to improve a diabetes patient's blood sugar by lowering both post-meal and fasting glucose levels. If effective, Byetta leads to better long-term control of the condition (as measured by hemoglobin A1C).Does Byetta Help Diabetes Patients?
The scientific community seems split on this question. There is no doubt that some patients on Byetta have reported good results. Byetta appears less likely to cause hypoglycemia or dangerously low blood sugar compared to the other available drugs. Moreover, for those who are at risk for weight gain, patients on Byetta are less likely to gain weight than on other diabetes medications, at least initially after taking Byetta. Obviously, this is a good thing given the cardio risks that travel with diabetes.
But still setting aside the risks associated with Byetta, some doctors remain unconvinced. Dr. Sonal Singh, a noted diabetes researcher and professor at Wake-Forest's medical school, says Byetta does not provide much clinical benefit. Dr. Singh does not prescribe Byetta and advises other doctors not to prescribe Byetta to diabetes patients.
A Georgetown study presented at the American Diabetes Association meeting confirms this concern. The study found that nearly 50% of people taking Byetta for Type II diabetes for more than a year stopped using Byetta because it was not working for them. The sales number bear this out. When Byetta was introduced to the market in 2005, Byetta prescriptions for it grew very quickly. But Byetta prescriptions have not increased in spite of the fact that it is still a new drug and has 250,000 prescriptions a month.What Are These Concerns with Byetta?
Byetta has side effects that can be harmful. Most drugs do. The question is whether the frequency of the side effects and whether the risks outweigh the benefit in light of all of the circumstances, including the availability of less risk drugs that are just as efficacious.
Last October, the FDA first warned that Byetta may cause acute pancreatitis and reviewed 30 reports of pancreatitis. On Monday, August 18, 2008, the FDA announced that the Agency has received six new reports of patients developing severe hemorrhagic or necrotizing pancreatitis. All cases required hospitalization, with two patients dead and four still in recovery. As Dr. Singh also points out, there is a great risk of underreporting these side effects from Byetta.
Underreporting is always a problem with pharmaceutical drugs but particularly with Byetta because clinical diagnosis of pancreatitis is difficult to make. Accordingly, we do not know if these side effects from Byetta are relatively isolated or, as our lawyers suspect, the tip of an iceberg. Dr. Singh puts it very bluntly: ”In my opinion, [Byetta's manufacturer] needs to go back to the lab and study this drug before launching it to millions of people. They have to try to find out the effects in real life practice.”
But now a more important problem has taken front an center: pancreatic cancer from Byetta (and Januvia). You can read more about that here.What to Do If You Have a Pancreatic Injury from the Use of Byetta?
Our attorneys have been monitoring potential Byetta cases since 2009, when t first reports came out about the association between Byetta and various side effects. Our lawyers believe now is the appropriate time to begin a potential review of Byetta lawsuits because we have further evidence that the link between Byetta and severe pancreatic problems - including cancer - may be more than just a mere association.
Accordingly, Our Byetta recall lawyers are reviewing these Byetta pancreatic cases throughout the country expecting a class action lawsuit may be appropriate. If you want to discuss your case with one of our attorneys, call us at 800-553-8082 for a free consultation or click here for a free Internet consultation on your potential Byetta lawsuit.