Commonly prescribed diabetes medications are now being linked to the risk of pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer, according to recent publications. The drugs include exenatide (Byetta), liraglutide (Victoza), sitagliptin (Januvia), and possibly other similar medications. Reports from Dr. Peter Butler of UCLA and Drs. Sonal Singh and Jodi Segal of Johns Hopkins University describe these adverse effects in the journals Gastroenterolgy, JAMA Internal Medicine, and Diabetes. These new warnings about adverse effects of oral diabetes medications follow in the wake of the FDA pulling blockbuster medications troglitazone (Rezulin) off the market, restricting use of rosiglitazone (Avandia), and issuing warnings related to bladder cancer to pioglitazone (Actos).
Prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes with nutritional measures, especially a plant-based diet and avoidance of meat and dairy products, remains a safe and effective approach. Let us remember that diabetes is the fastest growing disease in the USA. That means more people will take drugs for this condition, which in turn means more complications will undoubtedly arise with the increased use of new and old medications. There are alternatives however, including major changes in eating and diet and exercise. For information about nutrition and health, we encourage you to please visit www.pcrm.org/.