Diabetics on Januvia, Byetta at risk for dangerous pancreatic inflammation, researchers find

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People who take diabetes medications Januvia and Byetta are at a significantly elevated risk of a painful and potentially dangerous pancreatic inflammation, according to a recently published study.

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine researchers looked at 1,269 people who took at least one prescription diabetes drug between 2005-2008, comparing them to a control group of 1,269 diabetics who did not take a prescription drug to treat the condition during that period.

People who took glucagon-like peptide-1-based drugs such as Januvia and Byetta were twice as likely as other diabetics of being hospitalized with pancreatitis within 60 days of starting a course of drug treatment.

Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas that can be fatal if left untreated. The millions of patients on Januvia and Byetta means long-term care providers should be alert to the symptoms of pancreatitis, the researchers cautioned. Symptoms include abdominal pain, nausea and persistent vomiting.

The study results appear in the online edition of the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

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