What is Januvia?
What is Januvia?
Recent news about the possible link between Januvia, pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer have prompted public concern about this diabetes drug. But what is Januvia, exactly?
Januvia is a daily oral medication taken by patients who have Type 2 diabetes. Januvia accomplishes two things for Type 2 diabetes patients: it increases the production of insulin by the pancreas when blood sugar levels are high, and it lowers the amount of sugar produced by the liver. Januvia works best when combined with a healthy diet and exercise.
Keeping blood sugar levels in check is a vital part of health and wellbeing. High blood sugar can lead to kidney failure, heart disease, blindness, impotence and the loss of sensation in the feet, which can lead to amputations.
Patients with the following existing conditions should advise their doctor before taking Januvia:
- A history of alcoholism
- High blood triglyceride levels
Taking Januvia with these conditions could lead to an increased chance of pancreatitis.
What is Januvia Prescribed For? What Are the Side Effects?
As with most prescription drugs, Januvia side effects are common. The most common Januvia side effects include:
- Upper respiratory infection
- Stuffy or runny nose and sore throat
Patients may also experience serious allergic reactions to Januvia such as:
- Swelling of the face, lips, tongue, and throat
- Stomach upset and diarrhea
- Swelling of the hands or legs
- Elevated liver enzymes
Additionally, serious, even life-threatening complications have also been identified with long-term use of Januvia, including necrotizing pancreatitis, hemorraghic pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer and thyroid cancer.
Symptoms of pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer include:
- Dark-colored urine
- Light-colored stools
- Fatigue and weakness
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pain
As early as May 2009, however, the FDA issued a Drug Safety Communication about more serious and potentially life-threatening Januvia side effects: necrotizing pancreatitis and hemorraghic pancreatitis. The FDA asked Merck & Co., the maker and marketer of Januvia, to update its warning labels to reflect these risks. Another study in 2009 indicated the increased risk of pancreatic cancer
Another study in 2011, published in Gastroenterology, found that patients who take Januvia are six times more likely to develop pancreatitis and almost three times more likely to develop pancreatic cancer. An additional study by UCLA indicated that Januvia side effects include a 172 percent risk of pancreatic cancer and a 48 percent increased risk of thyroid cancer.
Approximately 23 million people in the U.S. have diabetes; 90-95 percent of those cases are Type 2 diabetes. Ever since new diabetes drugs like Januvia were released into the market, millions of prescriptions have been made.
However, increasing reports of pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer have spawned numerous Januvia lawsuits across the country. The number of Januvia lawsuits filed in California has risen to the level that the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California has grouped together Januvia and Byetta lawsuits together to improve efficiency during the discovery phase.
Hundreds and possibly thousands of Januvia lawsuits are expected to be filed across the U.S. in the coming years. Recently, an Ohio woman filed a lawsuit against Merck & Co for the death of her father, who started taking Januvia in 2007 and was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2011. Patients are alleging that Merck failed to provide adequate warnings to patients about Januvia side effects.
Depending on the circumstances of the case, a plaintiff in a Januvia lawsuit could be eligible to receive financial compensation for:
- Medical expenses (current and future)
- Lost wages (current and future)
- Out-of-pocket expenses related medical treatments
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium (future family benefits)
The attorneys at 1-800-THE-LAW2 have years of experience fighting large pharmaceutical companies like Merck & Co.