There are some serious health concerns surrounding Janumet and Januvia. Patients who took these diabetes drugs have reported developing pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer. As a result, a growing number of former patients have filed a Janumet or Januvia lawsuit against Merck & Co., the manufacturer.
Diabetes and Diabetes Drugs
Diabetics struggle to control their blood sugar levels. Patients with type 2 diabetes develop a resistance to insulin, an important hormone that helps metabolize glucose (sugar) from food. It's this failure to absorb glucose that leads to elevated blood sugar levels.
Elevated blood sugar levels can lead to other complications. As the organ responsible for producing insulin, the pancreas can respond to high blood sugar by ramping up its production of insulin. When this fails to lower blood sugar, the pancreas may eventually stop producing insulin. The resulting drop in insulin production and continuing insulin resistance raises blood sugar levels.
Most diabetics manage their condition through diet and exercise. When this isn't enough, diabetes drugs such as Janumet and Januvia can help. They are designed to boost the pancreas's production of insulin and reduce the body's resistance to insulin. Combined with diet and exercise programs, these drugs can reduce blood sugar levels. Janumet and Januvia are part of a group of diabetes drugs known as incretin mimetics.
Risk of Pancreatitis and Pancreatic Cancer
Reports from patients who have taken Janumet and Januvia have raised serious concerns. Several research studies have concluded that these drugs may increase the risk of pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the federal agency responsible for regulating pharmaceutical drugs, has twice warned doctors and patients about potential pancreatic side effects from taking Janumet and Januvia. In September 2009, the FDA warned that taking these drugs could increase the risk of developing pancreatitis (an inflamed pancreas). This warning came after post-marketing reports revealed that 88 patients who took these drugs developed acute pancreatitis. A warning about this risk was later added to drug labels.
Since then even more serious concerns have surfaced. In March 2013, the FDA warned that incretin mimetic drugs such as Janumet and Januvia might be associated with an increased risk of pancreatic cancer. This warning followed a research study that found a small number of patients taking incretin mimetic drugs developed pancreatic duct metaplasia. This is an early sign of pancreatic cancer. While the research study's sample size was relatively small, much attention has been paid to this concern. Pancreatic cancer is among the deadliest form of cancers - 96% of diagnosed patients do not survive for more than five years.
Janumet and Januvia Lawsuits
This problem is far from academic. Many patients who took Janumet and Januvia later developed pancreatitis or pancreatic cancer. A growing number have sued Merck & Co., claiming that the drugs caused their injuries. Many of these lawsuits have been consolidated before a federal court in San Diego, CA, along with lawsuits against other manufacturers of incretin mimetic drugs.
Product Liability Lawsuits
An area of law called product liability makes these lawsuits possible. These are private lawsuits that can compensate victims, hold manufacturers accountable, and raise the public's awareness about dangerous and defective products. Injured patients begin by filing a product liability lawsuit against the relevant manufacturer. Lawsuits must advance one or more "claims" against the manufacturer - legal reasons for holding the manufacturer liable for the plaintiff's injuries.
Common claims include that the manufacturer failed to warn doctors and patients about a known side effect, that the manufacturer defectively designed a product making it unsafe for consumers, and that a manufacturer breached product warranties in selling a defective product. All of these claims have been made in Janumet and Januvia lawsuits.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Some patients who took Janumet and Januvia have passed away. For their surviving family members, a wrongful death lawsuit can help ensure that a loved one's death does not exact a financial toll on those they leave behind. Wrongful death lawsuits can recover compensation for funeral costs, medical expenses, lost support, lost services, and other damages.
Patients file a Janumet or Januvia lawsuit for many reasons. However, the most immediate reason is often financial. Patients who suffer from a dangerous or defective pharmaceutical drug may be hospitalized, require long-term medical care, be unable to work, struggle to support their family, and experience significant pain and suffering. A product liability lawsuit can recover compensation for all of these costs from the manufacturer. If you or a loved one has been injured by Janumet or Januvia, you should consult with a product liability attorney to learn more about your legal options.
Contact a qualified product liability attorney to make sure your rights are protected.