What is Januvia?
Januvia (generic: sitagliptin) is an oral diabetes drug manufactured by Merck & Co. The medicine was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in October 2006 and is one of the most widely-prescribed type 2 diabetes drugs on the market. In 2007, the FDA approved a variation of Januvia called Janumet, which is a combination of sitagliptin and metformin.
How Does it Work?
Januvia mimics the action of incretin, a hormone that forces the pancreas to increase insulin production. Sitagliptin belongs to class of medications called dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP-4) inhibitors. DPP-4 is a protein in the body involved in glucose metabolism. By blocking this protein, Januvia enables incretin hormones to remain in the bloodstream long enough to stimulate the pancreas into making the insulin needed to remove the excess sugar.
What Side Effects has Januvia Been Linked To?
Serious side effects of Januvia may include:
- Acute Pancreatitis
- Hemorrhagic Pancreatitis
- Necrotizing Pancreatitis
- Pancreatic Cancer
- Thyroid Cancer
How Can Januvia Cause Pancreatic Cancer?
Studies have shown that when Januvia inhibits DPP-4, it may also reduce the body’s natural defense against the spread of malignant cancer cells. Many cases of acute pancreatitis have been associated with the drug, and pancreatitis can lead to pancreatic cancer.
Patients treated with Januvia have more than a doubled risk of developing the disease, and the risk increases the longer the patient is taking the medication. The average survival rate for someone living with pancreatic cancer is 18 to 20 months, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS).
What are the Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer?
- Dark urine
- Light-colored or gray stools
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Nausea and vomiting
- Pain or discomfort in the upper belly or abdomen that worsens with eating
Have Any Other Drugs Been Linked to Pancreatic Cancer?
Yes. Byetta (exenatide) and the Victoza pen (liraglutide) have also been linked to acute pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer. Janumet carries a black box warning concerning lactic acidosis. The metformin contained in the drug builds up in the blood, causing lactic acid to accumulate faster than it can be removed.
Has a Class Action Been Filed?
No class action lawsuit has been filed to date in the Januvia litigation. However, in July 2013 all federal lawsuits involving complaints over incretin mimetic diabetes drugs were consolidated into a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. As of January 2016, at least 750 lawsuits were pending in the MDL.
How is a MDL Different from a Class Action?
In the U.S., most complex drug injury litigation is handled through an MDL rather than a class action. This is a federal action that allows class actions and individual lawsuits to be transferred from many state courts into one federal court. Unlike a class action, complaints in an MDL remain independent.
What Injuries is your Law Firm Accepting?
Our lawyers are currently only accepting potential lawsuits on behalf of people who developed pancreatic cancer after taking Januvia. You may be eligible to file a complaint if you took the drug for at least 3 months and were later diagnosed with the disease.
What are Januvia Lawsuits Alleging?
Januvia lawsuits accuse Merck of:
- Failing to provide adequate warnings about the drug’s link to pancreatic cancer.
- Failing to recall Januvia after it became clear that its risks outweigh its benefits.
- Failing to advise the medical community about the necessity of monitoring patients for symptoms of pancreas abnormalities.
How Much Time Do I Have to File a Lawsuit?
States differ in their statute of limitations (SOL). This is why it is advisable to seek legal help as soon as possible if you feel that Januvia caused your illness. You could lose your rights to compensation if you fail to file your complaint within the SOL.