Janumet contains sitagliptin, an anti-diabetes medication that has been linked to two cases of thyroid cancer in the FDA database of adverse events. These cases are an important warning sign, because Janumet is relatively new and thyroid cancer is very rare. If you were injured by Janumet thyroid cancer, contact our lawyers regarding a potential Janumet lawsuit.
Janumet and Thyroid Cancer
No one knows if Janumet causes thyroid cancer. It is difficult to study the risk for the following reasons:
- Janumet has only been sold in the U.S. since 2007
- Thyroid cancer is very rare
- Janumet patients may have other risk factors, such as type-2 diabetes
- Cancer studies often take many years to complete
Gastroenterology published a study in 2011 that linked sitagliptin to two cases of thyroid cancer in the FDA database, and a 1.5-fold increased risk of the disease. The lead researcher cautioned:
“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.”
How Could Janumet Cause Thyroid Cancer?
The sitagliptin in Janumet belongs to a new class of anti-diabetes drugs that work by increasing amounts of a hormone called GLP-1, which tells the pancreas to produce more insulin. Another drug that influences GLP-1 is liraglutide, which has been shown to cause cancerous thyroid C-cell tumors in rodents. The FDA warned about this risk in a Safety Communication in June 2011.
Researchers are currently conducting long-term studies of cancer in patients treated with GLP-1 therapy medications. In 2009, the FDA required Amylin Pharmaceuticals to investigate the link between sitagliptin and thyroid cancer. Unfortunately, it will likely be several years before this study is complete.
Causes of Thyroid Cancer
Possible causes of thyroid cancer include:
- Diabetes drugs in the GLP-1 therapy class (such as Janumet)
- High doses of radiation (especially in the neck region during childhood)
- Family history of thyroid diseases
- Individual history of goiters (enlarged thyroid tissues)
- Asian ancestry
- Being between 25-65 years old
- Gender (75% of people who get thyroid cancer are female)
- Other medical conditions, including:
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
- Cowden’s syndrome
- Thyroid adenoma
- Familial adenomatous polyposis
- And more