GLP-1 drugs linked to increased pancreatitis risk

According to a study published in February 25 online version of the journal, JAMA Internal Medicine, patients taking GLP-1 therapy drugs are at twice the risk for developing pancreatitis than patients not taking the medications. Example GLP-1 drugs include Byetta (exenatide) and Januvia (sitagliptin).

These risks were previously known, as they were reported in animal studies to the FDA. This study from Johns Hopkins University is the first to examine the risks in humans, and while the study found an association between pancreatitis and GLP-1 drugs, it did not find a direct causal relationship between the two.

In a university press release, lead study author Dr. Sonal Singh, assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, remarked, "These new diabetes drugs are very effective in lowering blood glucose. However, important safety findings may not have been fully explored, and some side effects such as acute pancreatitis don't appear until widespread use after approval."

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