Marcello, age 65 with Type 2 diabetes, took Januvia for about four years along with Metformin. The events leading up to his diagnosis were frustrating and painful.
“I was vacationing in Aruba when I developed lower abdominal pain,” says Marcello. “I found a doctor who said it was inflammation and she gave me an antibiotic, which did nothing. I ended up in the Aruba hospital because the pain was so intense. They ran a battery of tests and everything looked okay, and I was given an injection to alleviate the pain.” So much for his vacation.
Marcello made it home and went directly to his family doctor, who thought he picked up a bug in Aruba. He prescribed all kinds of meds, to no avail. Marcello lost 40 pounds - he previously weighed 185 pounds. Then his doctor suspected ulcers. Next up, he had a stomach scope that didn’t find anything because the problem was lower - in his pancreas. Not even a CT scan found it.
“I couldn’t get admitted to hospital, even though I was begging them because of the pain,” Marcello explains. “I was given oxycontin but that made me feel like I was in outer space so I chucked them out. When I became so jaundiced that my eyes, face and hands were yellow, I finally saw a gastroenterologist. “
Marcello is now going to see a Januvia attorney. The gastroenterologist found that his bile duct was clogged from inflammation. He had a stent put into his bile duct and four ERCP procedures - a diagnostic test through an endoscope - that determined he had pancreatitis.
“Every three or four months I have to get this stent replaced and I’m on so many meds, some make me sick to my stomach,” says Marcello. “To make matters worse, I had to take eight prednisone pills a day and you have to be weaned off that drug slowly. It shot up my blood sugar level so now I need insulin injections, four times a day. My blood sugar was fine when I just took Metformin. And I have to watch my diet now.
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“Still, the doctors haven’t actually connected pancreatitis with Januvia but why was I told to stop taking it? I just want some answers. I went online and couldn’t believe the damage this drug causes: some people have developed Januvia cancer, and I’m worried.”
Marcello believes that the slow diagnosis of pancreatitis and the pain he was in for so long made his condition worse.
“I still get this lower abdominal pain and worry that pancreatitis is going to come back again,” Marcello adds. “Thinking about your future health is worrisome - I am so mad that no one even mentioned Januvia side effects.”