Side effects that have been linked to Januvia include pancreatitis, thyroid cancer and pancreatic cancer. These side effects are similar to Byetta, another type II diabetes medication. Lawsuits have been filed in California against the maker of Byetta, alleging patients were not adequately warned about the risks associated with the drug. Stewart says similar lawsuits will likely be filed regarding Januvia.
“At this point, lawsuits are related to people who have been diagnosed with either thyroid or pancreatic cancer,” Stewart says. “In the future, however, lawsuits may be widened to include people who developed pancreatitis. There have been studies suggesting a correlation between acute pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer, in that acute pancreatitis could be a precursor to pancreatic cancer.”
In addition to studies suggesting a correlation between acute pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer, some studies have suggested a link between the use of Januvia and an increased risk of pancreatitis, thyroid cancer and pancreatic cancer.
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“There are competing studies regarding Januvia,” Stewart says. “Most of those that say Januvia is harmless were commissioned by the drug company. Independent studies tend to indicate a high risk of injury from Januvia. That does not mean that the commissioned studies are bad, but it raises a question that is begging for inquiry.”
Patients who used Januvia for any length of time - but especially those who used it for more than two years - and developed thyroid or pancreatic cancer may be eligible to file a lawsuit. The US Food and Drug Administration has so far not issued a warning about a potential link between Januvia and thyroid or pancreatic cancer.