Diabetes drugs are a popular and often necessary way to keep blood sugar levels in control. However, they can also cause serious side effects, either on their own or in conjunction with other medications. Research has linked several commonly-prescribed Type 2 diabetes drugs to complications like cancer, heart attacks, and more. At Showard Law Firm, our team is committed to helping the victims of dangerous drugs receive compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, and physical and emotional suffering.

Understanding diabetes medication side effects

Not all diabetes medications work in the same way, and therefore they do not all have the same side effects. Oral and injectable diabetes medications impact how the body makes or regulates insulin, a hormone produced by beta cells in the pancreas. The way a drug does this— can produce potential side effects—which can be life-threatening.

The categories of some commonly prescribed oral diabetes medications and their side effects include:

  • Sulfonylureas stimulate the pancreas to increase the amount of insulin the body secretes. Side effects can include low blood sugar, upset stomach, weight gain, and skin rash.
  • Thiazolidinediones increase the sensitivity of the body’s tissues to insulin. Reported side effects include weight gain, an increased risk of heart failure, liver disease, swelling, and anemia.
  • Biguanides decrease the amount of glucose produced by the liver and increase muscle tissue sensitivity to insulin, so glucose is more easily absorbed. Side effects can include diarrhea, kidney complications, fatigue, dizziness, metallic taste in the mouth.
  • Meglitinides stimulate cells in the pancreas to release insulin. The most common side effects include low blood sugar and weight gain.
  • Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors work by blocking the breakdown of starches and some sugars, which slows the rise of blood glucose levels. Some side effects include gas, bloating, and diarrhea.

Newer on the market are several injectable drugs:

  • Incretin mimetics copy the function of incretin hormones by stimulating the pancreas to release insulin, inhibit the release of glucagon, and slow the speed at which glucose is absorbed into the bloodstream after eating. Possible side effects include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, other digestive upset, headaches, loss of appetite, and increased sweating.
  • Pramlintide is an injectable synthetic form of the hormone amylin produced by the beta cells in the pancreas. It works with the body’s insulin and glucagon to regulate blood glucose levels. The most common side effect is nausea. Other side effects include loss of appetite, stomach pain, cough, dizziness, sore throat, and joint pain.

Dangerous diabetes drug side effects

Unfortunately, incretin-based medications have been linked to serious health issues like pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer, and thyroid cancer. Some of these medications include:

  • Exenatide, under the names Byetta and Bydureon
  • Liraglutide, under the names Saxenda and Victoza
  • Semaglutide, under the names Ozempic and Rybelsus
  • Dulaglutide, under the name Trulicity
  • Lixisenatide, under the name Adlyxin

Diabetes patients across the country have developed pancreatic cancer and other serious diabetes medication complications after taking these drugs. There are lawsuits pending in both state and federal courts against the makers of incretin mimetics. If you or a loved one have been injured by diabetes medication, protect your rights by speaking with an experienced dangerous drug attorney.

Medications linked to serious incretin mimetics complications

Some of the commonly reported diabetes medication side effects, like weight loss and mild abdominal pains, can also be signs of a more serious complication like pancreatitis or pancreatic cancer.

Research links incretin mimetics like Byetta, Januvia, Trulicity, and Victoza with an increased risk of developing pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer, and thyroid cancer. It is believed that the effect that the medications have on the beta cells in the pancreas– can lead to a proliferation of cancerous cells. Elevated insulin levels may also lead to the growth of thyroid cancer cells or an increase in other hormones and related complications.

Some other types of diabetes medications, like SGLT2 inhibitors such as canagliflozin (sold under the name Invokana)– have been associated with kidney injuries. These can include renal failure, diabetic ketoacidosis, and even limb amputations.

Serious complications from diabetes medications can impair your quality of life, and in the worst cases, they can be fatal. Discuss any side effects with your doctor as soon as possible to be screened for more dangerous health issues.

Call today for a free consultation

If you or a loved one were injured by diabetes medication, the manufacturer might be liable for their unsafe products. Showard Law Firm is committed to holding pharmaceutical companies responsible for the harm that their drugs cause.

Do not wait to schedule a consultation. Contact us today to schedule a complimentary case review.

Additional Resources:

  1. FDA, FDA investigating reports of possible increased risk of pancreatitis and pre-cancerous findings of the pancreas from Incretin Mimetic drugs for type 2 diabetes https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm343187.htm
  2. Reuters, Diabetes drugs tied to pancreatic cancer risk https://www.reuters.com/article/us-diabetes-drugs-tied-pancreatic-cancer/diabetes-drugs-tied-to-pancreatic-cancer-risk-idUSTRE80U0ZQ20120131

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