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Januvia and Necrotizing Pancreatitis

Januvia and Necrotizing Pancreatitis

The diabetes drug Januvia has been linked to several cases of necrotizing pancreatitis, a life-threatening complication in which digestive enzymes in the pancreas cause severe inflammation and tissue death (necrosis). There is a very high risk of complications, including surgery, organ failure, and death.

What You Can Do & How We Can Help

The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting Januvia induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Defective Drug Litigation Group or call us toll-free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.

Januvia and Necrotizing Pancreatitis

Januvia is a type-2 diabetes medication that has been on the market since 2006. The active ingredient, sitagliptin, lowers blood-sugar levels by inhibiting dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4). Januvia specifically targets cells in the pancreas and triggers the production of more insulin, which helps prevent hyperglycemia.

Because Januvia relies on the pancreas to work, many experts are concerned about pancreatic side effects. Unfortunately, a growing number of studies suggest that Januvia can have adverse effects on the pancreas, such as pancreatitis — sudden inflammation of the pancreas. If pancreatitis inflammation is not reduced for days or weeks, necrotizing pancreatitis may occur.

What is Necrotizing Pancreatitis?

Necrotizing pancreatitis is a complication of uncontrolled acute pancreatitis. It occurs when persistent inflammation cuts off the supply of blood to pancreatic tissue, which causes cells in the pancreas to die. Large sections of tissue may be permanently damaged or destroyed. This is called necrosis.

FDA Warning for Januvia Necrotizing Pancreatitis

The risk of necrotizing pancreatitis from Januvia was highlighted by the FDA in a Drug Safety Communication published in September 2009. The agency warned that Januvia was linked to 88 cases of acute pancreatitis, including two cases of hemorrhagic or necrotizing pancreatitis, were reported between October 16, 2006 and February 9, 2009.

Symptoms of Necrotizing Pancreatitis

The FDA recommends that patients on Januvia and doctors should be vigilant for symptoms of acute pancreatitis, such as:

  • Upper-abdominal pain that is severe and persistent
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Weight loss, decreased appetite, anorexia
  • Abdominal tenderness or swelling

The symptoms of necrotizing pancreatitis are similar to the symptoms of pancreatitis, but more severe. These additional symptoms may include:

  • Extremely low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Changes in heart rhythm, palpitations, rapid heart-rate
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Symptoms of shock
  • Cold extremities (hands, arms, legs, feet)
  • Very high fever, or low body temperature
  • Confusion, agitation, anxiety
  • Breathing problems, shortness of breath

Complications of Necrotizing Pancreatitis

Once necrosis (tissue death) occurs in people with pancreatitis, the risk of mortality increases significantly. However, treatment options vary depending on whether the necrotizing pancreatitis is infected or sterile. Once infection occurs, surgery is usually necessary to prevent more complications. Some of the most common complications include:

  • Infection (sepsis)
  • Septic shock: This complication occurs when a bacterial infection in the pancreas spreads to other tissues, organs, or the blood. This can cause inflammation in the entire body (septic shock) and organ failure.
  • Pancreatic abscess: This occurs when infected fluids (pus) and digestive enzymes accumulate in a fluid-filled sac in the abdomen. A surgeon may need to place a shunt to drain the abscess. If it ruptures, spilled digestive enzymes can cause severe organ damage in the abdomen.
  • Organ failure: Failure of the heart, lungs, and kidneys is responsible for 2/3 of deaths in patients with necrotizing pancreatitis.
  • Surgery: May be necessary to remove infected tissue.
  • Death

Do I have a Januvia Lawsuit?

The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting Januvia induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Defective Drug Litigation Group or call us toll-free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.

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