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FDA, EMA still investigating pancreatic problems with diabetes drugs Byetta, Januvia

U.S. and European drug regulators have yet to reach a final conclusion about whether a widely prescribed class of type 2 diabetes drugs increases the risk of pancreatic problems. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) launched separate investigations a year ago into the safety of so-called incretin mimetics drugs such as Januvia and Byetta after studies linked the medications to acute pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer. Incretin mimetics, which include GLP-1 receptor agonists and DDP-4 inhibitors, work by increasing the release of insulin after meals and by slowing the absorption of food in the gastrointestinal ... Read More

Rise in obesity rates puts more people at risk of serious health consequences

An estimated one-third of the world’s adult population is overweight or obese and at risk of developing diabetes and other serious health conditions, according to a new study by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI). “The evidence is well established: obesity, together with excessive consumption of fat and salt, is linked to the rising global incidence of non-communicable diseases including some cancers, diabetes, heart disease, and strokes,” the report states. The study found the biggest problem to be in developing countries, where an estimated 900 million are considered overweight – nearly three times as many as 1980. Comparatively, about 550 million ... Read More

Top selling type 2 diabetes drugs carry cancer risks

Januvia was the top selling diabetes drug in the country for the 12 months ending September 2013, according to IMS Health. Januvia earned $2.8 billion during that period with more than 8.7 million in prescriptions, giving it an overall ranking of 14th on the list of top 100 prescription drug sales. Sitagliptin is the active ingredient in Januvia. It is also used in combination with metformin in the type 2 diabetes medication Janumet. That drug ranks 47th on the list of top selling pharmaceuticals with $967 million in sales and 3.26 million prescriptions. Actos, which contains the medication pioglitazone, ranks ... Read More

Could your diabetes medication cause cancer?

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin to regulate glucose – or sugar – levels in the blood. If left uncontrolled, diabetes can lead to serious health complications including cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, dementia, amputations due to neuropathy, and blindness. People who are overweight and do not exercise regularly are at greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Many require medications to keep their blood sugar levels in check. These medications help millions of people manage their disease, but for some, there is a price – dangerous side effects. The warning ... Read More

Study links insulin therapy to bladder cancer deaths in diabetics

Type 2 diabetics on insulin therapy are more likely to die from bladder cancer than those using other treatments, a new study suggests. Researchers with the Department of Internal Medicine at the National Taiwan University College of Medicine in Taipei, followed more than 86,000 patients with type 2 diabetes aged 25 or older from 1995 through 2006 for bladder cancer deaths. They concluded that patients who used insulin to keep their blood sugar levels in check were nearly twice as likely to die from bladder cancer compared to those who did not use insulin. Patients who used insulin and who ... Read More

FDA lifts tight restrictions on Avandia despite lingering ‘uncertainty’ over cardiovascular safety

Drug regulators are lifting some of the tight prescribing and dispensing restrictions placed on the type 2 diabetes drug Avandia (rosiglitazone), claiming the link between the medication and fatal heart attacks may not be as strong as initially thought. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had severely restricted the drug’s use in 2010, but earlier this year agreed to review data from a large, long-term clinical trial and reevaluate the drug to determine if the benefits outweighed the risks. Restrictions were lifted on all drugs that contain rosiglitazone, including the brand names Avandia, Avandamet, Avandaryl, and generics. The drugs are ... Read More

Type 2 diabetes drug Victoza may improve vascular health but poses cancer risk

Victoza, a type 2 diabetes treatment that works to regulate glucose, may improve the condition of arteries and possibly protect against heart attack or stroke, a new report shows. However, that benefit will have to be weighed against the drug’s cancer risks. Victoza, also known as liragliutide, is an injection made by Novo Nordisk to treat high blood sugar in type 2 diabetics. Many people may be familiar with the drug’s former spokesperson, celebrity chef Paula Deen, who after accepting the company’s offer to front their drug, admitted she was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes two years prior. She has ... Read More