Janumet has recently been linked to serious side effects including pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer, and a rare skin disorder known as bullous pemphigoid. The medication belongs to a controversial new class of oral diabetes drugs known as dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors which are used to help lower blood sugar levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes.
Janumet Linked to Rhabdomyolysis: FDA Warning
December 1, 2017 – The FDA is investigating a potential link between Janumet and other similar type 2 diabetes medications and a severe muscular condition known as rhabdomyolysis, according to a surveillance report issued October 6. Signs and symptoms of rhabdomyolysis include dark, reddish urine, a decreased amount of urine, weakness, and muscle aches.
What’s the Problem?
Manufactured by Merck & Co., Janumet (metformin and sitagliptin) is an FDA-approved prescription drug used to help lower blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. The medication is designed to work by increasing insulin production in response to food intake and decreasing the amount of sugar the liver manufactures. As a DPP-4 inhibitor, Janumet slows the breakdown of incretin hormones, thereby increasing levels of these substances in the body. Conversely, this action increases insulin production in response to meals and decreases the amount of glucose (sugar) the liver manufactures. Janumet was approved by the FDA on March 30, 2007.
Side Effects of Janumet
- Pancreatic Cancer
- Thyroid Cancer
- Acute Pancreatitis
- Hemorrhagic Pancreatitis
- Necrotizing Pancreatitis
In September 2009, the FDA issued a warning regarding numerous cases of pancreatitis in patients taking Janumet and Januvia. At the time of the warning, at least 88 cases of acute pancreatitis – including two cases of hemorrhagic or necrotizing pancreatitis in patients being treated with sitagliptin – were reported to the FDA between October 2006 and February 2009. Signs and symptoms of acute pancreatitis may include:
- Upper abdominal pain
- Abdominal pain that radiates to your back
- Abdominal pain that feels worse after eating
- Tenderness when touching the abdomen
Chronic pancreatitis symptoms may include:
- Upper abdominal pain
- Losing weight without trying
- Oily, smelly stools (steatorrhea)
Symptoms of hemorrhagic pancreatitis may include:
- Flu-like symptoms
- High fever
- Clay-colored stools
Necrotizing pancreatitis symptoms may be manifested through:
- Drop in blood pressure
- Pain in the upper abdominal region
Janumet Pancreatic Cancer
Research has demonstrated that diabetic patients being treated with Janumet face an increased risk of being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, the fourth leading cause of cancer death among adults in the country. Each year, nearly 50,000 Americans are diagnosed with the disease, and almost 40,000 die from it. Unfortunately, Janumet pancreatic cancer is hard to diagnose until its later stages in which it has grown beyond the pancreas to other parts of the body. Symptoms of Janumet pancreatic cancer include:
- weight loss
- dark urine
- clay-colored stools
- back pain
Click here for more information on Janumet pancreatic cancer from the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.
DPP-4 Inhibitors Linked to Severe Skin Disorder
Diabetes medications from the DPP-4 inhibitor class have been known to cause a rare skin disease known as bullous pemphigoid (BP). The condition causes symptoms of blistering on the arms, legs, abdomen, and mucous membranes. Hives and itching are also common signs of the condition. In October 2016, FDA asked DPP-4 manufacturers to include a pemphigoid warning to their medication’s labeling. All manufacturers complied by January 2017, according to the FDA.
Thyroid cancer, another potential complication of Janumet, is a disease that forms in the thyroid gland, an organ that manufactures hormones which regulate heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and weight. Four types of thyroid cancer exist including papillary, follicular, medullary, and anaplastic thyroid cancer. These manifestations of the disease are based on how their specific cancerous cells look under a microscope. Each year around the country, about 60,000 new cases of thyroid cancer are diagnosed, and nearly 2,000 people die from it. Signs and symptoms of Janumet thyroid cancer may include:
- a lump or nodule in the front of the neck near the Adam’s apple
- hoarseness or difficulty speaking in a normal voice
- swollen lymph nodes
- difficulty swallowing or breathing
- pain in the throat or neck
Click here to read more about Janumet thyroid cancer from the Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association, Inc. (ThyCa).
FDA Warns of Severe Joint Pain with DPP-4 Inhibitors
On August 28, 2015, the FDA issued a Drug Safety Communication warning that diabetes drugs from the DPP-4 class may cause severe and disabling joint pain in certain users. Symptoms began from one day to several years after taking the drugs, and most resolved in under 1 month after quitting. Click here to learn more.
Study Highlights Risks of Combining Janumet with Other Diabetes Drugs
June 23, 2016 – A new study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) has found that combining DPP-4 inhibitors like Janumet with “sulphonylureas” may increase the risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), a potentially life-threatening condition.
Janumet Pancreatic Cancer Lawsuit Update 8/27/13: A panel of judges has ruled to consolidate all federal pancreatic cancer lawsuits involving the diabetes drugs Byetta, Januvia, Janumet, and Victoza into a multidistrict litigation (MDL) for pretrial handling in the Southern District of California. These complaints involve allegations that the drugs’ manufacturers failed to adequately research their products before bringing them to market, and were negligent for not warning the public and medical communities about their potential to cause pancreatic cancer. Click here to learn more.
Do I Have a Janumet Lawsuit?
The Product Liability & Defective Drug Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Janumet lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new Janumet pancreatic cancer cases in all 50 states.
Free Janumet Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer after taking Janumet, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a Janumet suit and our lawyers can help.