Januvia Lawsuits and Januvia Liability in Massachusetts

Januvia is a once-daily prescription oral medication developed to fight Type 2 Diabetes. It should never be used in association with Type 1 Diabetes or in patients with diabetic ketoacidosis (increased ketones in blood or urine). Januvia works by regulating the insulin in the body in an attempt to lower blood sugar levels in adults. Januvia is manufactured by Merck & Co., and has become the company’s best-selling drug, with sales of over $4 billion last year.

Januvia is also available as a combination pill, Janumet, which is made up of metformin and Januvia. Januvia and Janumet are part of a new member class of drugs (similar to products Byetta and Victoza).This class of oral diabetes medications is called dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors, used to maintain blood sugar levels. The drug targets a natural body system called the incretin system, and works by affecting different cells in the pancreas. Since its release in late 2006, a number of cases of pancreatitis have been reported to the FDA.

Januvia has potentially been linked to a few serious side effects. A 2009 study found that Januvia may cause a form of low-grade pancreatitis in some patients, and increases the risk of pancreatic cancer in people who use the drug for a long period of time. Another study published in the journal “Diabetes” stated that researchers from the Larry L. Hillblom Islet Research Center at UCLA discovered Junuvia and other diabetic drugs could be linked to pancreatitis caused by the increased rate of cell formation lining the pancreatic ducts. This study indicated Januvia use could increase the risk of pancreatic cancer by 272% and thyroid cancer by 148%. With the discovery of this information, it is certainly possible that one of the long-term side effects of Januvia is pancreatic cancer.

A more recent study, published in the Journal of Gastroenterology discovered a link between Januvia use and an increased risk of pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer. Patients prescribed Januvia experienced six times the increased risk of pancreatitis and 2.7 times the risk of pancreatic cancer.

Further studies will be necessary in order to determine the potential side effects in human beings. Merck & Co., the manufacturer of Januvia, may face possible fines in connection with the failure to complete required testing needed to determine the potential dangers to the pancreas.

The FDA issued a revised warning label for Januvia medication on September 25, 2009 which stated side effects, included pancreatic cancer and thyroid cancer. Between the drug’s approval in 2006 and February 2009, the FDA received 88 post-marketing cases of acute pancreatitis. Of these 88 cases, 66 resulted in hospitalization. Furthermore, four of the cases resulted in patients needing to be sent to the intensive care unit. Of these 88 patients, over 20% developed pancreatitis within 30 days of starting Januvia. Over half of the patients’ cases were resolved once use of this medication ceased.

Serious potential side effects of Januvia include;

  1. Abnormalities in the Pancreas
  2. Pancreatitis
  3. Pancreatic Cancer

Currently, Januvia attorneys are investigating potential lawsuits against Merck & Co alleging product liability, negligence and failure to warn claims.

The attorneys at Sheff Law have the necessary resources, experience, and national reputation to investigate personal injuries and wrongful death claims resulting from defective drugs like Januvia. Patients across Massachusetts and America are beginning to realize some of the potentially harmful consequences of taking Januvia. If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of Januvia, contact an attorney at Sheff Law today by filling out the free form, or call at (888) 423-4477 or 617-227-7000.

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