What is Byetta?
Byetta (exenatide) is a type-2 diabetes drug that comes in a pre-filled injection pen. Byetta was developed by Amylin Pharmaceuticals from the venomous saliva of the Gila monster, a large lizard found in the American Southwest. Byetta is a synthetic version of a protein, extendin-4, which closely resembles the hormone glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), which stimulates the pancreas to produce more insulin, which is a hormone that helps control blood-sugar levels.
Study Links Byetta and Cancer
In 2011, the journal Gastroenterology published a study by researchers from UCLA linking Byetta to a 2.9-fold increased risk of pancreatic cancer and a 4.7-fold increased risk of thyroid cancer. The conclusions were based on an analysis of adverse event reports submitted to the FDA between 2004-2009. According to researchers:
“This analysis of the FDA database does not establish that pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer and thyroid cancer are caused by GLP-1 therapy. It simply raises the level of concern that they may be, and that the appropriate prospective studies are required to rule them out.”
FDA Safety Warnings for Byetta and Cancer
- October 2009 — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a Safety Communication linking Byetta to an increased risk of pancreatitis, which is a known risk-factor for pancreatic cancer. They asked Amylin Pharmaceuticals to conduct six post-marketing safety studies to investigate the risk of pancreatitis, thyroid cancer, and pancreatic cancer.
- November 2009 — The FDA published another Safety Communication to warn about the possible risk of kidney side effects, after receiving 78 reports of altered kidney function, including 62 cases of kidney failure.
- March 2013 — The FDA issued a Safety Communication after reviewing a study published in Diabetes linked Byetta to alarming evidence of an increased risk of pancreatic cancer. Researchers who autopsied pancreases found that they were 40% more massive and had 6-times as many beta-cells as normal, and many of the cells were abnormal. Several pancreases also had pre-cancerous growths, including three micro-adenomas and one neuroendocrine tumor.
Byetta Side Effects
- Pancreatic inflammation
- Pancreatic cancer
- Thyroid cancer
- Kidney damage
- Low blood-sugar (hypoglycemia)
- Nausea, vomiting
- Decreased appetite
Do I have a Byetta Class Action 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 Byetta lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new cases in all 50 states.
Free Byetta Lawsuit Evaluation: Again, if you or a loved one was injured by Byetta, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by joining a Byetta class action lawsuit or by filing a personal injury lawsuit and we can help.