Newer type 2 diabetes drugs carry serious side effects, pancreatic cancer risks

diabetes illus250x03 Newer type 2 diabetes drugs carry serious side effects, pancreatic cancer risksThe newest classes of type 2 diabetes drugs may help diabetics manage their disease, but it can come at a great price. Diabetes drugs known as GLP-1, DPP-4, and SLGT2 have been associated with serious side effects including acute pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer, thyroid cancer, urinary tract infections, gastrointestinal issues, and renal and gallbladder problems, according to AdverseEvents (AE), a company that analyzes post-market side effects data.

According to, Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP-1) agonists and dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors both affect levels of the incretin hormone, which helps to control blood sugar. Sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors (glucuretics) block glucose reabsorption and instead release it into the urine. GLP-1 agonists include the brand names Bydureon, Byetta and Victoza. DPP-4 inhibitors include the brands Janumet, Januvia, Nesnia, Onglyza, and Tradjenta. SLGT2 inhibitors include Farxiga and Invokana.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently evaluating these drugs to determine whether the risk for pancreatic cancer is enough to add warnings to the drugs’ safety labels. However, the AE report indicates there is enough data to show a warning is warranted.

The greatest risk for pancreatic cancer among GLP-1 drugs was with Byetta and Victoza. DPP-4 drugs with the greatest pancreatic cancer risk were Janumet and Januvia, with the group expressing particular concern with Nesnia.

Since SLGT2 drugs are still relatively new on the market, the group said there was not enough data with SLGT2 drugs to establish a link between these drugs and pancreatic cancer. However, these drugs were linked to urinary tract infections, which raised concerns of bladder cancer risks.

Patients with diabetes are twice as likely as non-diabetics to develop pancreatic cancer, a disease that kills 94 percent of its victims within five years. Consumers should be made aware of the pancreatic cancer risks associated with the newer type 2 diabetes drugs so they can make an informed decision about their diabetes treatment.

Source: Drug Watch