Pharmaceutical

Four Dangerous Diabetes Drugs

diabetes illus250x03 Four Dangerous Diabetes DrugsType 2 diabetes is a growing epidemic around the world with an estimated one in 10 adults predicted to be suffering from the disease by 2030, according to the International Diabetes Foundation. Diabetes increases the risk for serious health complications including heart disease, kidney disease, cancer, blindness, dementia and amputations from neuropathy. Many diabetics require medication to help control blood sugar levels.

There are dozens of diabetes treatments on the market and more being developed. But these drugs come at a risk. Here are five type 2 diabetes drugs that carry dangerous side effects:

Invokana/Invokamet – Known chemically as canagliflozin, Invokana was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2013 as the first drug in a new class of type 2 diabetes medications known as SGLT2 inhibitors. Invokana and Invokamet, the same drug in combination with the diabetes treatment metformin, are made by Johnson & Johnson’s unit Janssen Pharmaceuticals.

In May, the FDA warned that the drug had been linked to cases of ketoacidosis, a serious condition in which too much acid builds up in the blood. Complications include difficulty breathing, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, confusion, and unusual fatigue. It can lead to diabetic coma and/or death. More recently, the FDA warned that Invokana and Invokamet also have been linked to an increased risk of bone fracture and loss of bone mineral density leading to osteoporosis.

VictozaNovo Nordisk gained FDA approval for Victoza, containing the drug ingredient liraglutide, as a diabetes treatment in 2010, and last year rebranded a larger dose of the drug as Saxenda for weight loss. Victoza is in a class of drugs known as GLP-1 agonists. The drug gained notoriety when it hired former Food Network star Paula Deen to be its spokesperson, during which the butter-rich chef revealed to the world that she had type 2 diabetes. Victoza’s weight-loss side effect might make it a more attractive option for diabetics, but the drug also carries a risk for thyroid cancer. Data showed a rare type of thyroid cancer known as medullary thyroid cancer in laboratory animals treated with the drug. Clinical trials on Victoza also revealed that the drug can cause a painful inflammation of the pancreas known as pancreatitis, a condition that increase the risk of pancreatic cancer.

Byetta/Bydureon – Byetta, and the extended-release version Bydureon, contain the drug ingredient exenatide, from the GLP-1 agonist class of diabetes drugs. Both are made by AstraZeneca. Byetta, a twice-daily treatment, was approved in 2005, followed by Bydureon, the first once-weekly diabetes treatment, in 2012. Byetta and Bydureon, like Victoza, were linked to thyroid cancer in laboratory animals, which suggests the drugs could cause the disease in humans. The drugs have also been linked to pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer.

Januvia/Janumet – Januvia, known chemically as sitagliptin, was approved by the FDA in 2006, becoming the first medication in a new class of diabetes drugs known as DPP-4 inhibitors. A year later, the FDA approved Janumet, a combination of sitagliptin with metformin. The drugs are made by Merck. Like Byetta/Bydureon and Victoza, Januvia and Janumet have been linked to pancreatitis, which can be severe and lead to death. The drugs have also been linked to pancreatic cancer. Earlier this year, the FDA warned that Januvia and other DPP-4 inhibitors were linked to severe joint pain, which may be the result of “an immunological reaction,” the agency said.

Source: Righting Injustice