A medical malpractice trial is underway in a federal court for a doctor who allegedly prescribed Victoza, an obesity drug. A jury will be asked to decide whether the risks associated with this medication outweighed any benefits. This case has national implications and could have an impact on future prescription drugs similar to Victoza.
According to research, incretin mimetic medications like Victoza may be linked to pancreatic cancer, putting millions of Americans at risk.
Victoza is a type 2 diabetes medicine that belongs to the incretin mimetic family, which also includes Byetta and Januvia.
In the United States, more than three million type 2 diabetics used an incretin mimetic medication to decrease their blood sugar in 2013. Victoza is, unsurprisingly, Novo Nordisk’s best-selling medicine, with sales of more than $3 billion in 2016. However, evidence suggests that incretin mimetic medications like Victoza may be linked to pancreatic cancer, placing millions of Americans at risk.
What Is Victoza and How Does It Work?
Incretin mimetics help people with type 2 diabetes by controlling incretin production. Incretins are hormones that aid in the release of insulin in the body.
Victoza is a once-daily injection of a chemical that resembles the incretin Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 (GLP-1), but it is resistant to the enzyme Dipeptidyl-Peptidase-4 metabolization, unlike GLP-1 (DDP-4). GLP-1 agonists are drugs like Victoza that act on the GLP-1 receptor.
While this procedure decreases blood glucose levels in patients, it may do so at the price of the pancreas. Victoza may cause the pancreas to become overstimulated, resulting in significant adverse effects such as pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer.
What are the Side Effects of Victoza?
Victoza may cause the following negative effects, according to the FDA:
- Patients who have the foregoing adverse symptoms (nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea) might rapidly become dehydrated, which can lead to kidney failure. If left untreated, renal failure might develop, necessitating dialysis.
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) may occur when Victoza is used with another blood sugar-lowering medication, such as insulin. Headache, dizziness, perspiration, weakness, disorientation, hunger, and a rapid heartbeat are all possible symptoms.
- Thyroid tumors may be cancerous, resulting in medullary thyroid cancer. A lump or enlargement in the neck, hoarseness, trouble swallowing, or shortness of breath are all possible symptoms. The FDA has issued a black box warning for thyroid c-cell tumors, the most serious warning it can issue.
- Pancreatitis is a condition in which the pancreas is inflamed.
What Are the Symptoms of Pancreatitis?
Victoza has been linked to pancreatitis, according to research. Pancreatitis is a condition that occurs when digestive enzymes in the pancreas activate before they leave the pancreas, causing inflammation. Scar tissue may form in the pancreas if this occurs often enough.
Symptoms of pancreatitis include:
- Tenderness and discomfort in the abdomen
- The heart beats quickly.
Pancreatitis may develop into a chronic illness with catastrophic consequences, including:
- Pseudocysts: Pseudocysts are cyst-like forms in the pancreas that accumulate fluid and debris.
- Failure of the kidneys
- Pancreatic carcinoma is a kind of cancer that affects the pan
What Symptoms Do You Have If You Have Pancreatic Cancer?
Chronic pancreatitis patients are at an increased risk of getting pancreatic cancer. Researchers are looking at claims that incretin mimetics caused pancreatic cancer, which is unsurprising.
Symptoms don’t normally develop until the disease has moved outside of the pancreas, which might take years. These symptoms, according to the American Cancer Society, may include:
- Urine that is dark in color
- Stools that are light in color or that are oily
- Skin that is itchy
- Pain in the abdomen
- Back ache
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
- Enlargement of the gallbladder or liver: A big lump may form below the right side of the ribcage.
- Clots in the blood
- Fatty tissue that is abnormal and unequal
Is Victoza linked to the development of pancreatic cancer?
Incretin mimetics may induce pancreatic cells to proliferate, possibly increasing pancreas weight and causing precancerous lesions to form.
There is no solid evidence linking incretin mimetics to pancreatic cancer, according to researchers. However, just as there isn’t enough evidence to show a link, there isn’t enough evidence to disprove one.
It’s crucial to remember that pancreatic cancer is a slow-growing malignancy. According to John Hopkins University researchers, it took an average of 11.7 years from the first cell mutation in the pancreas to the formation of the first cancer cells in individuals who died of metastatic pancreatic cancer.
Victoza was just licensed in 2010, thus if there is a link between the medicine and pancreatic cancer, the bulk of instances may take a few more years to manifest.
Dr. Peter Butler, a diabetes specialist, has been at the forefront of incretin mimetic research for years. He researched the effects of Januvia on rats in 2008 and observed abnormalities in their pancreas that he feared may lead to cancer in the future. Dr. Butler remarked that Januvia’s impact on patients looked to be comparable to estrogen, which has been associated to the development of breast cancers in women.
Butler’s findings were confirmed five years later in a research that indicated that individuals on Byetta and Januvia had a twofold increased incidence of acute pancreatitis compared to those in the control group.
But what is it about incretin mimetics that causes the pancreas to become irritated? These medications, according to Dr. Butler’s study, stimulate certain pancreatic cells to grow. This response has the potential to increase pancreatic weight and induce precancerous lesions to form.
Is there a Pancreatic Cancer Warning from the FDA?
According to the FDA’s adverse event database, patients using Januvia are 10 times more likely to be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
The FDA received concerns of pancreatitis from patients soon after the incretin mimetic Byetta hit the market in 2005. Surprisingly, 22 out of 30 instances of pancreatitis improved after patients stopped using Byetta.
The FDA said that concerns of pancreatic adverse effects were not unique to Byetta and were reported in other incretin mimetic medicines as well. According to the FDA’s adverse event database, patients using Januvia are 10 times more likely to be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
The FDA has received over 2,500 complaints of Victoza-related pancreatic adverse effects since 2010, including over 2,300 for pancreatitis (acute and chronic). Januvia has received over 2,400 reports of pancreatitis, whereas Byetta has had over 3,000 complaints.
Since 2013, the FDA has been looking into the link between incretin mimetics and pancreatitis and pancreatic duct metaplasia (precancerous cellular alterations), urging that researchers provide additional information to back up their claims.
Do you need legal assistance?
Patients who acquired pancreatic cancer after using Victoza, Byetta, or Januvia have brought over 700 claims. Manufacturers allegedly neglected to notify that incretin mimetics raised the risk of pancreatic cancer, according to these claims.
You may be able to file a case against Novo Nordisk if you or a loved one acquired pancreatic cancer after using Victoza. Medical costs, missed pay, pain and suffering, and other expenses might all be covered by a lawsuit.
For a free, no-obligation legal consultation, contact us now. It will never cost you anything until we get a favorable decision or settlement on your behalf.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why was Victoza taken off the market?
A: Victoza was taken off the market due to many people getting sick and dying from taking it.
Is Victoza linked to cancer?
A: No, Victoza is not linked to cancer. There have been studies done on the potential of this drug and its link with cancerous cells has turned out negative everytime.
Is there a recall on Victoza?
A: There is no recall.