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Pancreatic Cancer Lawsuit

Pancreatic Cancer Lawsuit

Diabetes drugs in the incretin mimetic class have been linked to a potential risk of pancreatic cancer. The FDA is investigating studies suggesting that these drugs may stimulate the growth of cancerous cells in the pancreas.

What You Can Do & How We Can Help

The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting diabetes drug 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.

Overview

Diabetes drugs in the incretin mimetic class work by mimicking hormones called incretins that tell the pancreas to make insulin. These drugs help lower blood-sugar levels by forcing the pancreas to make more insulin than normal. Unfortunately, some experts are concerned that long-term treatment could over-stimulate the pancreas and cause inflammation (pancreatitis). Without treatment, chronic pancreatitis increases the risk of DNA mutations that cause pancreatic cancer.

Hundreds of Lawsuits Consolidated in MDL

The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is nationally recognized as a class action law firm. However, we are not filing a pancreatic cancer class action. Instead, we are helping people join this litigation by filing individual lawsuits.

As of January 2016, over 750 individual lawsuits involving pancreatic side effects of incretin mimetic drugs were centralized in a Multi-District Litigation (MDL No. 2452) in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, In Re: Incretin Mimetics Products Liability Litigation MDL.

FDA Investigates Pancreatic Cancer Risk

In March 2013, the FDA announced in a Safety Communication that they will be investigating new research linking diabetes medications in the incretin mimetic class to a potential risk of pancreatitis (pancreas inflammation) and pre-cancerous cellular changes that could become pancreatic cancer. Drugs in this class include:

FDA Reports of Diabetes Drugs and Pancreatic Cancer

The number of reports linking diabetes medications and pancreatic cancer has continued to increase since these drugs were approved. When the FDA approved Byetta (exenatide) in 2005, it was the first diabetes drug in the incretin mimetic class. The FDA first asked drug-makers to “explore a potential signal of a serious risk of thyroid cancer and pancreatic cancer” in 2009. Since then, the FDA has received a number of reports of pancreatic cancer among patients who used Byetta and similar drugs.

Study of Diabetes Drugs and Pancreatic Cancer

In response to concern about the link between diabetes drugs and pancreatic cancer, researchers decided to examine autopsied pancreases from patients who used drugs in the incretin mimetic class for at least one year. The results of their study were published in Diabetes in March 2013.

Incretin mimetic drugs can increase the number of insulin-producing beta cells inside the pancreas. Researchers found that the pancreases were 40% more massive and contained a 6-fold increase in beta-cell mass. Unfortunately, many of these cells were “eccentrically shaped” and pre-cancerous. Several pancreases had adenomas, which are benign tumors that can become malignant.

The researchers warned about an increased risk of surgery from the adenomas:

“Since the standard of care of a pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor, because of the risk of conversion to malignancy, even if benign, is surgical resection [i.e. removal], patients exposed to incretin therapy would seem to be at increased risk of requiring pancreatic surgery.”

Experts Ask for More Safety Data

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) asked drug-makers to provide patient-level data on the risk of pancreatic cancer. The ADA intends to hire independent researchers to evaluate the data for a potential link between diabetes drugs and pancreatic cancer. The British Medical Journal also published an editorial describing the growing number of studies linking new diabetes drugs to pancreatic cancer. Experts are concerned about the lack of warnings regarding the risk.

What is Pancreatic Cancer?

Pancreatic cancer occurs when cells begin diving and growing out of control within the pancreas, which is a digestive organ that produces metabolic hormones (insulin and glucagon) involved in regulating blood glucose. The pancreas also makes digestive enzymes that help break down food.

What is the Problem?

Although pancreatic cancer is relatively rare, it is also one of the deadliest cancers. Less than 20% of people are diagnosed before the cancer metastasizes (spreads beyond the pancreas), which makes it nearly impossible to remove surgically and cure. The survival-rate has been growing in recent years, but pancreatic cancer still has an extremely poor long-term prognosis.

Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer is extremely dangerous because symptoms are vague or nonexistent in the early stages, which often delays diagnosis until it it too late to cure the disease. In many cases, symptoms only appear after the cancer has grown large enough to press on nearby organs or nerves. In some cases, patients develop jaundice when the cancer cuts off the flow of bile through the bile duct.

Symptoms of pancreatic cancer may include:

  • Unexplained fatigue or weakness
  • Unintentional weight-loss
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes)
  • Sudden onset or worsening of type-2 diabetes (decreased insulin from the pancreas)
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Diarrhea, indigestion, malnutrition
  • Abdominal pain, tenderness, swelling, or discomfort
  • Dark, cola-colored urine
  • Light, clay-colored stools

Do I have a Pancreatic Cancer Lawsuit?

The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting diabetes drug 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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