The FDA Requires Label Warning Of Byetta Side Effects
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated that there may be a link between a debilitating illness and patients who have been treated with a particular diabetes drug. One of the most serious potential Byetta side effects is acute pancreatitis, having caused at least six deaths among those taking the injectable medicine.
Part of a class of medications known as “incretin mimetics,” it is intended to treat type 2 diabetes by helping to control blood sugar in those that suffer from the illness. The drug works by aiding the pancreas in producing insulin more efficiently; however, it has also been linked to the painful inflammation of the pancreas.
When the FDA sent out an alert about the potential dangers of the medicine in 2007, there were 30 reported cases of this serious disorder. The findings noted that symptoms worsened when the dose was increased, that 21 of these victims were hospitalized, and that 5 of them developed more severe complications such as dehydration, kidney failure, and intestinal obstruction. Additionally, 22 reported improvement after they stopped taking the drug.
The FDA now requires a warning on the label, and they are considering requiring more. Though they do not recommend that anyone discontinue a medication without consulting with a doctor, anyone who experiences symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and increased heart rate while taking it should immediately seek medical attention.
Less serious adverse effects may include:
• Loss of appetite
• Weight loss
• Feeling jittery
The medicine is typically given as an injection under the skin, in an area such as the stomach, upper arm, or upper thigh. Patients should be sure to get specific instructions from their doctor or pharmacist as to how to use the Byetta pen. It should only be used for 30 days, and discarded after that time, as complications could result from using an expired pen. Patients should also be on alert for signs of an overdose, which include the typical symptoms of low blood sugar such as weakness, dizziness, confusion, hunger, fast heartbeat, sweating, and tremors. These could also signal hypoglycemia, a condition that occurs when one’s glucose is too low.
Doctors also recommend that anyone with any of these pre-existing conditions should be careful about using this medication, or may require special tests to determine its safety: kidney disease, digestion problems, or severe stomach disorders such as gastroparesis.
Pancreatitis is a troubling illness that varies in severity, but typically requires hospitalization for treatment, including pain management and fluid and electrolyte stabilization. In some cases, surgery or other invasive measures may be necessary. Additionally, there are sometimes related complications such as the development of pseudocysts that can become infected and hemorrhage.
Anyone experiencing any of the symptoms discussed in this article should consult with a medical professional before stopping any prescription medication. If you have already been diagnosed with one of these disorders and believe it may be linked to the drug, consider seeking legal assistance as well.
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