Like many drugs, the popular diabetes drug Januvia caused unexpected side effects in users. The drug is intended to help people with type 2 diabetes regulate blood sugar levels. When used properly and combined with a healthy diet and exercise, Januvia keeps blood sugar and insulin levels at a healthy level.
Januvia’s manufacturer, Eli Lilly, received approval for Januvia in 2006. It was the first medication approved in a new class of drugs known as DPP-4 inhibitors that enhance the body’s own ability to lower elevated blood sugar. Studies of Januvia showed minimal side effects, the most common of which included upper respiratory tract infection, sore throat, and diarrhea.
Unfortunately, users of Januvia soon realized these were not the only side effects of using the drug. In many cases, instead of supporting management of their type 2 diabetes, Januvia actually made their condition worse. After determining the drug posed a serious risk to users, the FDA required Eli Lilly to update the drug’s warning label to include mention of the increased risk Januvia users face for developing pancreatitis or pancreatic cancer.
Type 2 diabetes normally affects the function of the pancreas – the organ responsible for producing insulin and control blood sugar. Most type 2 diabetes patients have limited pancreatic function, but many found their use of Januvia put their pancreas at an even greater risk than their disease. They developed pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer, and required an operation to remove their pancreas. Loss of the pancreas automatically results in a person’s diagnosis of type 1 diabetes, which means he or she will be dependent on insulin injections every day for the rest of his or her life.
Additionally, patients who developed pancreatic cancer as a result of using Januvia were forced to undergo chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy in addition to surgery. These cancer therapies carry with them a variety of other minor and severe side effects, all of which would not have been an issue had the patient not chosen to treat his or her type 2 diabetes with Januvia.
Side Effects of Januvia
In addition to the harm Januvia can cause to a person’s pancreas, there is a long list of other harmful side effects associated with the drug. These include:
- Cold-like symptoms, including a cough, body aches and pains, and congestion
- Sore throat
- Muscle pain
- Cold sweats and chills
- Difficulty breathing
- Abdominal pain
- Blurred vision
- Depression and anxiety
- Elevated heartbeat
- Increased hunger pangs
- Unexpected loss of consciousness
- Slurred speech
In some cases these side effects are temporary and fade once a patient’s body has adjusted to the medication. In other cases, side effects linger and can be an indication of an allergic reaction to the medication.
Januvia Users Take Legal Action against Eli Lilly
Following their use of Januvia and subsequent development of side effects, many users of the drug have filed legal claims against Eli Lilly. These suits claim the pharmaceutical manufacturer was aware of the increased risk at the time the medication received FDA approval for pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer caused by the drug, and that it also knew other side effects could be severe.
Despite the FDA strengthening the warning on drug labels, patients are still using Januvia and are still at risk for serious complications. Anyone who used the drug could be eligible for compensation for damages, including lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, and mental anguish. Patients chose to use Januvia thinking they were improving their health and their lives, only to learn the drug created medical issues far worse than type 2 diabetes.
If you or a loved one developed pancreatitis or pancreatic cancer while using Januvia, you should speak with an attorney as soon as possible. Consumers are not responsible for the loss of work wages, increased medical expenses, funeral expenses, or any other damages associated with problems caused by an FDA-approved pharmaceutical like Januvia. We want consumers to understand it is within their legal rights to take action against Eli Lilly and any other drug company that misleads them into thinking a drug is safe for use. The more honest and detailed information people have about medications the easier it is for them to make informed decisions about their medical care.