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Newest Diabetes Drugs Linked to Higher Pancreatitis Risk
Date:2/25/2013

stant professor in the division of general internal medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said in a university news release. "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."

Patients taking GLP-1 drugs should know about the symptoms of pancreatitis -- abdominal pain, nausea and persistent vomiting -- and seek immediate treatment if these symptoms occur, the researchers said.

Another expert added some additional caveats.

"Physicians need to be aware of these problems and discuss risks versus benefits with their patients," said Dr. Abayomi Akanji, a professor in medical sciences at the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University, in Connecticut. "Of course, these drugs are not recommended to be prescribed to children, pregnant women and maybe nursing mothers. They should also preferably be avoided in individuals with poor liver or kidney function, or who are hypersensitive to the medication."

"Physicians should specifically review with patients their past and current medical history for evidence of susceptibility to pancreatic or thyroid disease, and avoid use in individuals with such a history," Akanji added.

But a second expert said most diabetes drugs carry some risk for adverse reactions.

"While there have been previous reports that have associated these medications with pancreatitis, this study increases the evidence for a link between the medications and pancreatitis," said Dr. Jeffrey Powell, chief of the division of endocrinology at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, N.Y. "However, patients should realize that most diabetes medications can have significant adverse effects."

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more about

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