Merck’s widely-prescribed type-2 diabetes drug Januvia (generic: sitagliptin) has recently been linked to thyroid cancer, a life-threatening disease that begins in a gland located inside the front of the lower neck. A recent study published in the journal Gastroenterology found a four-fold increased risk of thyroid cancer in diabetic patients being treated with Januvia. Signs and symptoms of Januvia thyroid cancer may include difficulty swallowing, hoarseness or changing voice, neck swelling, and an enlargement of the thyroid gland.
What’s the Problem with Januvia?
Thyroid cancer is a leading cause of cancer death for both men and women in the United States, and is one of the most deadly of all types of the disease. According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Januvia may increase the risk of thyroid cancer in patients treated with the drug for an extended period of time. If you have lost a loved one from thyroid cancer, or are suffering from the effects of the disease yourself, you may have a Januvia thyroid cancer lawsuit.
Thyroid Cancer Overview
Thyroid cancer is a disease that forms in the thyroid gland, an organ at the base of the throat that makes hormones which regulate heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and weight. Four separate and distinct varieties of the disease exist including papillary, follicular, medullary, and anaplastic thyroid cancer. These types are based on how the cancer cells look under a microscope. Each year in the United States, approximately 60,000 new cases of thyroid cancer are diagnosed, and nearly 2,000 people die from the disease.
Signs and Symptoms of Januvia Thyroid Cancer
In the early stages of the disease, Januvia thyroid cancer may not cause any identifiable signs or symptoms. But as the cancer grows, symptoms 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
It is important to understand that these symptoms do not necessarily mean that a person has Januvia thyroid cancer. An infection, a benign goiter, or any number of other problems may cause these symptoms. Anyone with these symptoms should contact their healthcare provider immediately. Only a doctor can diagnose and treat Januvia thyroid cancer.
Januvia Thyroid Cancer Treatment & Prognosis (Outlook)
Courses of treatment for Januvia thyroid cancer will depend on the type and stage of the tumor, as well as the patient’s overall health and medical history. While surgery is usually the first line of defense in treating the disease, a variety of other approaches may be implemented, which may include:
- radioactive iodine treatment
- thyroid hormone therapy
- external beam radiation therapy
In many cases, results are the most effective when two or more of these methods are used in conjunction.
Januvia Side Effects
In addition to having the potential to cause thyroid cancer, Januvia has also been linked to the following serious side effects: