The study, which involved organs donated from 34 diabetic patients, was reported online in the journal Diabetes, and conducted by Dr. Alexandra Butler, University of California Los Angeles, and colleagues. Butler and his fellow researchers examined the pancreas of three groups of patients: those with type 2 diabetes who received incretin therapy (eight), those on other therapies (12), and non-diabetic controls (14). They found that seven of the eight organs from the incretin treatment group had received sitagliptin (Januvia) while one had received exenatide (Byetta, Bydureon). Those in the incretin therapy group had a 40% increase in pancreatic mass, which was significant. Further, there was a six-fold increase in beta cell mass compared with diabetes patients not on incretin therapy.
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This study follows on the heels of a report published in JAMA Internal Medicine, (2/25/13), which showed people taking Byetta, Bydureon or Januvia had double the rate of acute pancreatitis. Most recently, the FDA announced it would review the safety data on incretin mimetics, including Januvia and Byetta and Bydureon.